Colorado: The Frontline of 4:20 in America
The smartly named Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, which has led the movement for legalization in Colorado, turned in around 160,000 signatures (only 86,000 were required) last week to the State of Colorado in support of putting a marijuana legalization initiative on this year's ballot. Officials have 30 days to decide if the initiative will in fact be given a shot. Considering that nearly twice as many Coloradans signed the petition as is necessary, it better get a shot.
This comes only a few weeks after the head of Colorado’s Department of Revenue, which is responsible for the state’s businesses, including medical marijuana, wrote a letter to the DEA requesting that marijuana be re-classified as a Schedule II drug. Currently, weed is classified as Schedule I, which means there is a high potential for abuse and there is no accepted medical use. Besides marijuana, other drugs classified as Schedule I are LSD, GHB, heroin, MDMA and others.
Schedule II drugs are described as having a high potential for abuse but have an accepted medical use. Since cocaine and PCP have some medical use, they are currently listed as a less serious drug than marijuana. Most experts and tokers agree that marijuana is not physically addicting and has very few negative side effects. It is also now used for medicinal purposes in 16 states and Washington D.C., so it fits the description of a Schedule II controlled substance, even though there isn’t really a high potential for abuse.
Despite the sincerity of the medicinal movement, recreational smokers should still start concentrating, as the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol is, on legalization for recreational use. The argument over full-blown marijuana legalization always boils down to the same basic structure. One side says it should be legalized because it’s relatively harmless compared to alcohol and tobacco and has a tremendous amount of medical benefits (which is of course 100% true). Then the other side says “No, marijuana is a drug and can make you lazy and stupid and will lead to other drugs (which is of course 100% not true).
I think the best argument for legalization is that a large percentage of the population uses or has used marijuana, and for the first time in history, a nationwide Gallup poll revealed that more Americans favor legalization (50%) than don't (46%). (Some 70% are in favor of medicinal marijuana.) The laws are supposed to reflect the peoples’ values. And those who do use marijuana obviously haven’t harmed others with this use or impeded their liberties. The law should reflect that.
We’ll keep you up to date on the developments in Colorado as they come.