Dear Marijuana and Crime Researchers: Start Your Engines

(Photo: Coleen Whitfield)

Yes, it could all go up in smoke — legal challenges, including from the Federal government, and all that — but among the interesting developments from last night’s election (do yourself a favor and look at this map) is the news that Colorado and Washington voters chose to legalize marijuana. Here’s how the issue was phrased on the Colorado ballot:

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning marijuana, and, in connection therewith, providing for the regulation of marijuana; permitting a person twenty-one years of age or older to consume or possess limited amounts of marijuana; providing for the licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores; permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities; requiring the general assembly to enact an excise tax to be levied upon wholesale sales of marijuana; requiring that the first $40 million in revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund; and requiring the general assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp?

We have previously addressed marijuana legalization and the many economic, legal, social, medical, and criminal implications. With a potential wide-scale legalization in two substantial states, I am guessing a lot of academic researchers in the drug, legal, economics, and criminal-justice fields are revving up their engines to start figuring out what happens next.

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  1. Joe says:

    There are likely economists more excited about this than anyone at CU-Boulder

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  2. angela smith says:

    It’s hard to feel safe nowadays, crime could happen anywhere in the world. We don’t know what type of danger that awaits us outside. That’s why taking extra precaution is a must. It’s just sad to say that mostly this things happen because of some addicting elements we have that are being abused by some people. I’m glad I got this panic button app from my friend and it really fits my personal safety measures. I could press a panic button and I would directly be connected with my family or friends as safety networks and a 24/7 call center agents who could escalate my call to the nearest 911 in my place. They could also locate me through GPS location so it’s a lot easier to send help if I needed it.

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  3. a.hunt says:

    I find it interesting that the privatization and the establishment of the for profit prison system is not more widely discussed with the legalization of marijuana. There is big profits to be made in keeping marijuana illegal and following the initiation of the war on drugs incarceration greatly increased with the number one drug conviction in america being marijuana. With the legalization of THC the number of prisoners will decrease to some extent, one could speculate that this would be a significant decrease. Creating a loss in revenue and reduction in profits.

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  4. shayer saraf says:

    i have been a marijuana user for about the last ten years , never taken a break , all day everyday .
    i have always been dreaming about the day when they would legalize the plant but now thats its done , atleast in some places , i fear its for the worst , its very rear that people dosent abuse marijuana , thinking it dosent do anything , we increase our intake but the harsh reality is it does over a period of time .its easy to say that its going to have disastrous effect on the school or college going kids .all though it does have its good sides its going to save so much money for the economy and through all this recession i think america needs it , its also going to take away a lot of money away from the black market .i think making it legal is the right thing to do but with more restrictions is what i would have done .

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  5. Kenneth Howells says:

    Though not a user myself, use of marijuana (pot) has gone beyond the point-of-no-return, like the gun. Pot can be economically advantageous, just like cigarettes, which are also a health hazard (as is alcohol). Legalizing pot will create competition that lowers the price of pot and makes it less worthwhile to deal in pot illegally. States will spend resources on chasing after marijuana makers, sellers, and users and more on other hard-time crimes. The judicial system will also become less clogged up with petty pot charges.

    Use of marijuana will go through the same social steps that alcohol did. People will smoke at lunch breaks, only to get fired for not being able to perform their duties. People will smoke-and-drive and get ticketed for dangerous driving.

    Personally, I have never seen people smoking pot ever get into a fist fight. I have, however, seen many situations where people drinking alcohol go at each other psychically (yes, me included).

    There will be a transition period, no doubt; but smoking plants has a very long history, as does consuming alcohol. I drink beer and leave it at that, but from an economical, social safety, and social points of view, making pot legal makes sense.

    As a disclaimer, smoking pot seems to pose more health risks, since the user tries to keep the smoke in the lungs for a longer period of time. Also, pot contains a lot of chemicals that human bodies are not supposed to have to suffer through.

    But, sadly, in today’s world, advantages vs. disadvantages have to be rationally looked at. Just like gun ownership, cigarette smoking, and alcohol consumption have gained the upper hand by going beyond-the-point-of-no-return, pot should follow suit. Pot appears to be non-addictive by medical definitions and does not seem to make people crazy (stupid, but not necessarily socially crazy).

    Legalize pot, let capitalism take its course, and move on to more important matters.

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