As Maryland takes its next step forward on the path towards legalizing marijuana, could a state that has already legalized it be taking a step backwards? Colorado, along with Washington state, legalized marijuana about a year ago, and now two gubernatorial candidates there have both addressed the possibility of repealing that law. Republican Bob Beauprez and incumbent Governor John Hickenlooper discussed the issue during a debate last Thursday, the former advocating for total repeal while the latter stated more research into the long-term effects of marijuana usage would be necessary before deciding one way or the other.
This news comes to national attention after the October 1 law in Maryland launched decriminalizing possession of marijuana under 10 grams. By decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, Maryland is seemingly moving in the direction of other, more progressive states where possessing small amounts of pot has already been decriminalized for years. Colorado and Washington are the only states currently to have not only decriminalized but legalized recreational marijuana thus far; other states have varying laws regarding marijuana for medical purposes.
What is prompting the reconsideration of legalized marijuana in Colorado?
So after making such an important and progressive leap forward, why are Coloradans now looking to go back to their expensive old ways? Well, as of now, there are no hard and fast statistics indicating that repealing the law, a policy known as Amendment 64, has the majority of Coloradans’ support. In the vote that decided on legalized marijuana, a 55 percent majority of the state, in fact, was on the side of legalization. At this point, it seems that the politicians are the ones discussing the merits of both sides of the argument and deciding whether or not this is an issue that the state needs to address with comprehensive backpedaling. Basically using the issue as a political hot potato to see if it can get them elected.
Advocates for legalization have strong arguments in their favor. The Marijuana Industry Group’s Mike Elliot came out against the condemnation of legalized marijuana issued by Bob Beauprez, saying that not only would newly-created jobs and businesses disappear if the law were repealed, but it would also signal a return to illegal drug trade replete with black market dealings and unsafe, unmanageable products out on the street. Not to mention the huge windfall in tax revenue.
Which side in the fight for legalization will Maryland be on?
If Colorado repeals their marijuana legalization law, they will be retreating into the past just as states like Maryland take their first steps towards the future. Maryland’s decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana is the first and necessary step towards revised drug policies and a better way of governing.
Bruce Robinson & Associates is a criminal defense law firm based in Baltimore, MD. If you have been accused of criminal charges and need to seek aggressive counsel, Robinson & Associates is here to help. For more information and to schedule your free consultation, give Robinson & Associates a call at 443-524-7395 or visit us at www.marylandcriminallawyer.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.