Up and down the Western Hemisphere, marijuana policy is a growing topic of discussion, and laws are starting to change. In 2014, retail marijuana stores opened in the states of Colorado and Washington, where anyone over 21 years old can purchase a wide variety of marijuana products.
In their op-ed article against cannabis legalization, former drug czar William J. Bennett and Seth Leibsohn yearn for a time when fear-mongering, not facts, drove the marijuana policy debate in America.
Dozens of government officials and researchers from a half-dozen U.S. states and a few countries that have legalized marijuana or are at least thinking about it are gathering in Washington state this week for meetings focused largely on one question: How do we know if it’s working? Organizers say it’s crucial to get a better handle on what data are being collected about the impacts of legalization and to consider what further research is needed.
Propelled by successful campaigns in Western states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, some advocates and legislators say a marijuana legalization race is developing in New England, with millions of dollars in tax revenue riding on the outcome.
California lawmakers are wading into the politically sticky issue of regulating medical marijuana, laying groundwork for state control of the sale and cultivation of cannabis with the expectation that voters will legalize recreational use next year.
Marijuana policy may not seem like the natural setting to model policies that pursue inclusive growth, but the innovative policy-making processes initiated in four US states are actually well worth considering.
As Obama embarks on the third year of his second term, here are some of the ways in which Obama has begun to deliver on his promises of a more rational, less punitive approach to psychoactive substances. Obama's most significant drug policy accomplishment may be letting states go their own way on marijuana legalization. Even if our next president is a Republican drug warrior, he will have a hard time reversing that decision, especially given the GOP’s lip service to federalism.
The black market for marijuana in Colorado isn't what it used to be. Nine or 10 years ago, the narrative of illicit cannabis in the state focused on illegally grown product filtering in from Mexico, California and elsewhere. Now it seems officials and experts are more concerned about Colorado-grown marijuana infiltrating other states, a trend that is seeing a significant upward trajectory. "In a lot of ways, our legal industry has become the black market for other states," said Tom Gorman, director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. (See also: A Year of Legal Pot)
Nebraska and Oklahoma filed the first major court challenge to marijuana legalization, saying that Colorado’s growing array of state-regulated recreational marijuana shops was piping marijuana into neighboring states and should be shut down. The lawsuit asks the United States Supreme Court to strike down key parts of a 2012 voter-approved measure that legalized marijuana in Colorado for adult use and created a new system of stores, taxes and regulations surrounding retail marijuana. (See also: Colorado vows to defend pot law against states' challenge)