Tuesday brought it a lot of exciting news for voters everywhere, especially with causes: marijuana and gay marriage to name a few. But, now that States have decided to take the extra steps to legalize amendments making the possession of weed legal, what does it mean for citizens there? After all, while the laws may be abolished at a State and local level, it is still Federally illegal. However, less than 1% of arrests for marijuana are made at a Federal level. And also, according to the United States Constitution, rights not directly given to the Federal Government go to the States and Individuals – so would the Federal government even have a say at this point?
Washington, Colorado, and Massachusetts all made the step to legalize weed – with Washington and Colorado making it legal for even recreational users. In these States, it is expected that companies will rise to manufacture it, and that the government will begin its goal of taxation – which is expected to be worth millions in revenue for the State.
Looking at the good of the situation, this means increased revenue for the States. It also means that it will potentially be safer for consumers and recreational users. Oftentimes, weed purchased on the streets can be laced with other drugs, such as cocaine. This can be far more harmful to the health of the user, potentially fatal. But government regulation could change all that, or at least that is the hope of many.
“The decisive victories last night will go a long way toward helping more elected officials to understand that marijuana reform is a mainstream, majority-support position,” says Tom Angell, the chairman of Marijuana Majority, “Too many politicians who realize that the marijuana laws are broken and need to change are reluctant to speak out publicly or take legislative action because they mistakenly assume that will be marginalized or attacked as “soft on crime.” ”
And while the Obama administration was tough on Proposition 16, years ago, there was hardly an effort at preventing voter decisiveness in this election. Perhaps, like Mr. Angell says, politicians are beginning to learn that the people have spoken. Taking this a little further, it is even possible in such a State as Rhode Island, for politicians to pass the laws making marijuana legal without having to have the voters pass these laws through majority vote.
The world is waiting for answers, as the new advances passed in State votes push the nation towards a more progressive stance. How will the Obama administration, the federal government, and neighboring States act in response to the passage of these amendments.