A set of laws to govern how recreational marijuana should be grown, sold and taxed was signed into law Tuesday in Colorado, where Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper called the measures the state's best attempt to navigate the uncharted territory of legalized recreational pot. The laws cover how the drug should be raised and packaged, with purchasing limits for out-of-state visitors and a new marijuana driving limit as an analogy to blood alcohol levels. (See also: Highlights of Colorado's new marijuana laws)
Three United Nations Conventions provide the international legal framework on drug control, instructing countries to limit drug supply and use to medical and scientific purposes. Yet, debate continues on the decriminalisation, or even legalisation, of drugs, particularly cannabis. Models under development for the legal supply of cannabis are described in this analysis, as well as some of the questions they raise.
Part of the ‘Perspectives on drugs’ (PODs) series, launched alongside the annual European Drug Report, these designed-for-the-web interactive analyses aim to provide deeper insights into a selection of important issues.
The first time I talked to Mark Kleiman, a drug policy expert at UCLA, was in 2002, and he explained why legalization of marijuana was a bad idea. “At some point you have to say, a law that people don’t obey is a bad law,” Kleiman told me when I asked how his views had evolved. He has not come to believe marijuana is harmless, but he suspects that the best hope of minimizing its harm may be a well-regulated market. Today the most interesting and important question is no longer whether marijuana will be legalized — eventually, bit by bit, it will be — but how.
Los Angeles politicians have struggled for more than five years to regulate medical marijuana, trying to balance the needs of the sick against neighborhood concerns that pot shops attract crime. Voters will head to the polls to decide how Los Angeles should handle its high with three competing measures that seek to either limit the number of dispensaries or allow new ones to open and join an estimated several hundred others that currently operate.
Washington Liquor Control Board officials released draft rules for a legal seed-to-store marijuana system. Washington residents and out-of-staters could buy an ounce of tested, labeled marijuana, seven days a week, up to 20 hours a day, in state-regulated stores. That rule is more permissive than in Colorado, the other state creating an adult recreational-pot market. The draft rules are likely to be refined in weeks to come.
They've spent nearly eight months visiting marijuana grow houses, studying the science of getting high and earning nicknames like "the queen of weed." Now, officials in Washington are taking their first stab at setting rules for the state's new legal weed industry, possibly covering an array of topics ranging from how pot should be grown, labeled and tested for quality assurance to what types of security should be required at state-licensed pot businesses.
The chief drugs adviser to the government has given his strongest warning yet on legal highs in Britain, saying there are now more than 200 synthetic psychoactive drugs being sold outside existing laws. He rejected a new approach in New Zealand, which tests and licenses the sale of these new psychoactive substances, as unworkable in Britain, but said a solution might be found by tweaking the Medicines Act or using consumer protection laws.
Many Washington residents are looking to cash in on the newly legal and potentially lucrative marijuana market, which they hope will give them a new start, create jobs, and boost Washington's slumping economy. A diverse bunch, prospective marijuana entrepreneurs range from cannabis novices to experienced sellers crawling out of the black market. State officials are unsure how much revenue marijuana will bring because the market has never been regulated. But experts predict the industry could fetch up to $2bn over a five-year period.
n untold number of recreational pot collectives have formed in Colorado since Amendment 64's passage in November, hoping to meet consumer demand before retail pot stores' anticipated opening in 2014. It's unclear, however, whether the collectives will withstand legal scrutiny. Some officials warn that the arrangements not only put participants at risk — they also threaten Colorado's careful attempts to craft regulations meant to generate tax revenue and to ward off a federal crackdown on the state's new pot frontier.
With other states already starting to allow the legal use of marijuana, Maine needs to get ahead of the issue and legalize, regulate and tax the sale of the drug, lawmakers were told. LD 1229, the Act to Tax and Regulate Marijuana, was introduced by State Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland). "This issue is coming to our state," Russell told the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee as it took up the bill she sponsored. It has 35 co-sponsors in the 186-member Legislature.
B.C.’s New Democratic and Green parties say they would not oppose a research trial to evaluate the regulation of adult marijuana use, which would be a step towards taking pot use out of the criminal realm, according to Stop the Violence BC. The B.C. Liberals said a research trial would have to be initiated by the federal government and only then would they give the proposal “serious consideration.”