Medicinal marijuana has been permitted in Colorado since 2001. It was in 2012, that voters altered the state constitution to allow Colorado residents the freedom to smoke cannabis for recreational purposes as well, giving the government the time frame of one year to make it work. The governor of Colorado referred to it as 21st Century’s most ambitious social experiment. Well, the one-year mark has just been reached and the results are in. Faster than expected, the state of Colorado is becoming one big operational warehouse for marijuana, which is inevitably keeping the black market thriving.
Compared to other states that retail cannabis legally, Colorado is the state that has had the most exponential growth. Adults ages 21 and over can visit any store that is licensed by the state and purchase weed without consequence. Those who reside in the state can buy up to an ounce if they choose, while tourists are restricted from buying more than a quarter ounce.
The thing is, all of these weed-selling businesses are still considered illegal by the federal government. Because of this fact, it is the reason the justice department keeps a very close watch over what these businesses are doing. The feds insist they will not get involved as long as the weed being grown and used for recreational purposes does not cross state lines and it stays out of the hands of criminals and children. Unfortunately, only three months after legalization, when edibles (candies and cookies infused with weed) came on the scene, a 19-year-old college student plummeted to his death from a hotel balcony after eating cookie laced with pot. There should not have to be lives being lost in order for people to see certain laws are in place for a reason. Too many bad things occur when stepping out onto a ledge blindfolded.
The only problem Colorado seems to be having is the understanding that even when people are given what they want, seldom are they satisfied, because immediately what is left over for them is the opportunity for something more, something better. No matter how many privileges and rights given to people in Colorado, marijuana smoking is one right that keeps the black market thriving. Even though legalizing weed tried to keep the law from being broken and criminal activity at bay, there will always be some barrier put in place that people will find their way around. Truth is, that is something that will never change, because the black market offers cheaper goods and does not ask to see I.D.
The common misconception that people have regarding the legalization of marijuana is that it will keep weed that is being grown off the black market. Colorado police are well aware that underground dealers are still selling pot on the streets. Why would dealers be selling on the streets when selling in a store is legal? Well, because they get away with not having to levy 28 percent in state taxes. That is more money in their pockets and less money for the state.
Denver officers have busted multiple warehouses that were growing weed specifically for out-of-state sale. The marijuana grown in Colorado is not permitted to cross state lines, yet it does. States like Oklahoma and Nebraska are suing to get the U.S. Supreme Court to pronounce the recreational cannabis in Colorado unconstitutional. The people of Colorado know that because weed is still considered illegal by the federal government, they are aware that at any time the feds could come and shut them down. Considering the amount of backlash that keeps coming from neighboring states and the increase in underground black market activity, the feds are being advised to cut the cord on the marijuana experiment and let Colorado clean itself up.
By Kameron Hadley