Rocky Mountain high: Colorado’s legal pot experiment

Teri Robnett Rx MaryJane

Teri Robnett (Rx MaryJane)

Cannabis Patients Alliance founder Teri Robnett, also known as medical marijuana advocate Rx MaryJane, is featured in a recent piece in Al Jazeera in America. The article in five chapters, written by Greg Campbell, author of Pot, Inc., explores the status and effects of marijuana legalization in Colorado.

Enjoy this clip:

One of the reasons January’s grand openings were so successful is that Colorado had already gone through its birthing pains, around the time Robnett began advocating for legalization in 2009 after taking a job at a medical marijuana dispensary. That’s when the state’s medical marijuana law, on the books but largely unused since 2000, exploded into prominence seemingly overnight. With barely any rules or regulations governing the sale of medical marijuana or the sudden proliferation of dispensaries, it seemed every half-baked pot grower in the state rushed to invest in lurid neon pot-leaf signs and started peddling weed out of any storefront they could find.

“It was a crazy time,” she says. “It really was the Wild West. We had people bringing in (marijuana-infused) brownies they cooked in their kitchen and wanting to sell it to the dispensary.”

Recognizing the potential for a backlash that could have inspired lawmakers to put the screws to the fledging industry — regulations in some other medical marijuana states are too tight or complex to let the market flourish as freely — activists worked with lawmakers to help design the regulatory structure. Not everyone was pleased with the resulting framework for allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to operate. The strident marijuana “whacktivists,” as they’re sometimes called, wanted fewer restrictions, while the “reefer madness” crowd wanted more. But it seems to have laid the groundwork for a smooth rollout of recreational sales.

“If anything surprises me about where we are now, it’s that we managed to get our collective asses together and get this done,” Robnett says.

Robnett, for her part, is back at the Capitol on a regular basis, making sure state legislators don’t wreck the experiment.

“There’s still a lot to work on,” she says, pointing as an example to a new drugged-driving law that many think makes it too easy for people to be charged with DUI, considering that marijuana can be detected in the bloodstream long after its effects have worn off. She’s worried about a rash of “drugged driving” arrests that could not only be unfair to the drivers, but also provide ammunition for marijuana’s critics. Robnett and the others are all too aware that opponents are ready to pounce on the first marijuana misstep.

“They want to believe we’re a bunch of stoners who came out this one time because we wanted to legalize weed and now we’re all going back to our couches,” she says. “That’s crap.”

Rocky Mountain high: Colorado’s legal pot experiment | Al Jazeera America.

Categories: Advocacy, Business & Industry, Celebrity Stoners, Colorado, Patients, Policy & Politics

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