Just a decade ago, marijuana’s legalization seemed very unlikely. Today, we stand proud in Washington after legalized recreational marijuana is a done deal and already in action. In states like Colorado and Oregon, voters are feeling similar joy.
So what led to Initiative 502 in Washington and what does this mean for other states that may want to get their piece of the pie and join in on legalizing marijuana? Washington’s success in legalizing cannabis may help other states create similar measures and propose a recreational marijuana bill that has already proven itself to work.
Washington has all the stoners
This should say Washington has all the liberals, but stoners could be just as true. Washington State voters are open to new opinions and ideas, they don’t just go the traditional route. Washington is an extremely diverse state and their voting reflects that. Voters here are willing to go outside the norm and try new things and they want what’s best for society, the economy and the people. After all, they are the people.
Washington didn’t become one of the first states to legalize marijuana because it’s the best state, but because it has the best people. Washington benefits greatly from enacting recreational marijuana laws and the people are excited about that and recognize that cannabis isn’t a harmful or dangerous substance.
Seattle is the largest city in Washington and it’s the state’s main tourist attraction. Seattle’s culture is young, vibrant and urban. It’s exactly the type of place you’d expect to find legal marijuana. Before marijuana’s legalization, smoke shops were on every corner, bong and pipe sales were high, and hydroponics was making a name in retail. It’s safe to say Seattle was already very stoner-centric area before marijuana officially became legal with Initiative 502.
More tax revenue, less profit for gangs
Marijuana’s legalization will bring millions of dollars in yearly tax revenue to the state and it will create a new distribution funnel for it, taking the profit away from gang members and putting it in the hands of small business owners and marijuana entrepreneurs. More tax revenue will mean better funding for the state’s educational and police departments. Less profit for gangs means fewer guns and illegal drugs on the streets. Ultimately, the state benefits in multiple ways by legalizing recreational marijuana and it results in a safer society. Voters recognize that while marijuana may have addictive properties, it’s not a life altering substance that deserves to be illegal. With marijuana illegal, the war on drugs never ends and it overextends the police. With marijuana legal, police offers can focus their efforts on reducing crime and violence.
Washington is susceptible to high sales
Washington voters were always strong supporters of marijuana. Just look at Seattle’s yearly events, with Hemp Fest being one of the largest. Every year Washington residents gather for a multi-day celebration of marijuana and hemp. It was one of the largest marijuana events in the world. Washington’s economy is susceptible to high pot sales. The people here like their marijuana, and they weren’t going to give up. If any state had the potential to sell a lot of cannabis, it’s definitely Washington.
Medical marijuana was making an impact
Medical marijuana has proven to be very valuable. It has helped treat seizure disorders, aid cancer patients through treatment, and make the lives of AIDS patients easier. The impact that marijuana has had in the medical field is saying something about the substance and its role in health care. Medical marijuana is a big reason why recreational marijuana was actually considered. Washington enacted medical marijuana laws in 1998, giving the substance over ten years to prove its value before being considered at the recreational level.
Less federal control – more state control
Slowly but surely, states are beginning to recognize why our founders meant it when they wrote the declaration of independence to have a strong emphasis on state rights. Federal intervention on matters that should be left up to the state can be a very negative thing. Federal authority will always overrule state laws, but Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska have been able to successfully introduce recreational marijuana without federal intervention. More state control means a diversified but united America. The less the federal government is responsible for and the more power we give to the state, the better off society is. State rights puts laws in the hands of voters, where real change gets implemented.