We’re just over 3 weeks into the experiment, and with all the media coverage and opinion pieces on retail marijuana in Colorado one thing is becoming blatantly clear: the real reason most prohibitionists think marijuana consumers should be sent to jail or forced into rehab is simply because they don’t like marijuana or the people who use marijuana. The thinking goes like this… “because I don’t like the pot and you smoke the pot, you should go to jail/rehab.” That’s all they’ve got left. Every other argument is falling by the wayside.
How do you continue to claim that pot makes you stupid when people like Carl Sagan and Bill Gates support marijuana? How do you continue to claim that pot makes you lazy when world-class athletes like Michael Phelps and Von Miller are known to have enjoyed a bong-hit or two? How do you continue to claim that 1 out of 6 teens who use marijuana will become addicted when thousands, if not millions, of nonaddicted adults who tried marijuana when they were teens are walking, not staggering, the streets everyday? How do you argue that marijuana makes you violent, irrational and insane when people have stood in line for hours patiently waiting to make their legal purchase in Colorado without incident?
I know, I know. It’s too soon to tell. They’re still waiting for the shoe to drop or the sky to fall or the tsunami to hit. They think we’re all on our best behavior and it’s only a matter of time before the real social consequences become evident.
Maybe they’re right. We’re not sure what the impacts on society might be. But here’s what we do know…
- Tourism has been impacted with bookings at ski resorts on a record-breaking pace.
- Colorado’s unemployment rate is below the national average.
- DUIs over New Year’s week, the same week that retail marijuana shops opened, were below last year.
- Applications at the University of Colorado are up by 33%.
- And Colorado has already received enough tax revenue from the sale of retail marijuana to more than pay for the Governor’s salary and his staff.
So yes, we’re just beginning to see the impact this new industry might have on our society.
Granted, marijuana isn’t for everybody. I can’t think of a single product that is. And there are some people who don’t like it. That’s fine. But just because it’s not for you, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be for anyone else. And it certainly doesn’t mean that others should be penalized just because you don’t like it.