“Legalization” Isn’t Legalization

In 2012 Colorado “legalized” adult-use marijuana; it got more votes than either Presidential candidate. Yet, arrests for possession fell by only a little more than half. If anyone can still go to jail for it, it’s not actually legal. California still arrests around 6,000 annually, mostly for possession. Thus, on a per-capita basis, Colorado arrests 5 times more for marijuana possession than California. These arrests fall disproportionately harder on people of color.

In Colorado, legal possession for adults is limited to one ounce (28 grams). In “marijuana legal” Denver, a patient growing just one plant in a locked, fenced greenhouse is at-risk of losing their house to asset forfeiture, no trial. In “marijuana legal” Colorado, a parent can be charged with child abuse for bringing a child into home where just one plant is growing, even if the parent or child didn’t know it.

THC is still Schedule 1 in Colorado and federally, and the plant itself is Schedule 1 in California and federally. The only states with no form of Cannabis reform (medical including CBD-only, or adult-use) is Idaho, Nebraska, and Kansas. That’s 2.2% of the US population. Federal marijuana prohibition therefore is tyranny in action.

What’s the biggest obstacle to actual legalization? Everyone thinking it’s legal now, even in Colorado or California.

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