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On election night, Colorado made quite a splash as the number of votes for legalizing marijuana reached a record high.
The new law in Colorado allows citizens 21 years of age and older to carry up to one ounce of the substance with them for recreational use.
While Amendment 64 may allow the population to explore new heights, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper warned that state law is not higher than federal law.
“The voters have spoken, and we have to respect their will,” he said in a statement. “This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”
Even though the drug was made legal at the state level, Hickenlooper anticipates a long legal road ahead.
The argument stems from a dispute older than the Civil War – states’ rights.
As reported in the Denver Post, the governor, attempting to weed through the controversy, wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking for a clear federal response on the issue “as soon as possible.”
According to the law, Colorado citizens may indulge in marijuana usage; however, if they are traveling on an interstate, which is federally owned property, a federal officer may arrest them.
What are the ramifications of such irresponsible legislation?
Many in favor of the law argue that it is used for medicinal purposes. So why not keep the law as it was and only allow doctors to prescribe it in a legitimate case? There are plenty of less addictive substances that are not allowed to be sold over the counter in American pharmacies.
Still others would say, “People are going to find a way to use illegal substances anyway.” But to that, simple logic says, “If we make it legal, even more people would do it.”
Do we really want a society in which American citizens are driving and working under the influence of marijuana? This is utterly absurd.
What about children of parents who are proponents of the legislation? What kind of example are they being shown? Who’s to say the parents who had clouded enough judgment to vote for such a law would not let their kids have a puff or two at home?
This could lead to a spike in the number of dropout students, making the standard of life in states that adopt this kind of policy diminish greatly.
Crime rates could rise dramatically. With customers of age being able to purchase the drug, it could fall into the hands of minors.
Something else to consider is how much marijuana people would buy and keep in storage.
The law allows a person to carry up to an ounce, but what keeps them from stockpiling it?
Perhaps what is most concerning is the new kind of tourism that might develop.
If a state legalized a potent drug, people would flock there. Is it fair for the streets of cities like Denver and Colorado Springs to be overrun by drug users from other states?
There is also the potential for marijuana to be smuggled across state lines, creating a difficult situation for law enforcement agencies at the local, state and national levels.
Maybe Denver’s nickname, “the mile high city” has proved prophetic.