Article by Tony Bradley, Forbes
The revolution to legalize marijuana is marching slowly—but steadily—forward. Half of the states in the United States plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana or cannabis for medical use, and more states are legalizing recreational use with each election cycle. In the recent election, California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine all passed ballot measures to legalize for recreational use.
Even in states where marijuana is technically illegal, law enforcement tends to look the other way for all but the most egregious offenses. The reality is that there is no common sense argument that allows for cigarettes and alcohol to be legal while marijuana is not. Both cigarettes and alcohol are verifiably more harmful than marijuana.
Those most strongly opposed to legalizing marijuana object because of money, not the health or welfare of society. The tobacco and alcohol industries lobby heavily against legalizing marijuana because it threatens their respective monopolies on our vices. Law enforcement and the prison industry are opposed to legalizing marijuana because it would impact the ability to cash in on a steady flow of inmates charged with petty possession.
Despite widespread fear mongering and dire predictions of the demise of society as we know it, Colorado has flourished since legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Retail stores, cultivation facilities, and manufacturers have popped up and employ thousands. The industry brings in over a hundred million in state taxes annually. Law enforcement can focus on more heinous crimes.
All-in-all, legalizing marijuana has been a huge success in Colorado. Many states sat on the sidelines to see what impact it would have in Colorado, but now that they see how well it’s going lawmakers are introducing legislation to capitalize on the benefits in their own states.