I just read an article on Reason.Com suggesting that bills will be introduced tomorrow in the Rhode Island and Maine legislatures to legalize marijuana. With Colorado and Washington State legalizing marijuana, and politicians still stunned that they are clearly behind schedule in other states, states across the country are trying to put marijuana legalization measures in place before the citizens get the chance to do so.
I know in my home state of Oregon, there has been a lot of talk of the legislature legalizing marijuana before the 2014 Election. The most significant call for such a policy change oddly enough came from The Oregonian. The Oregonian has ALWAYS hated marijuana, and for their Editorial Board to call out the legislature after the 2012 Election results was mind blowing. Below was the reasoning the Oregonian offered up to the Oregon legislature:
“And if business booms at Washington’s pot shops, as expected? Our neighbor to the north will collect millions of dollars in new “sin” taxes, with much of the money coming from Oregonians who’d be happy to keep their business — and taxes — in state if given the opportunity.
Losing out on all that revenue would be a pity. However, when policies diverge so widely in adjoining states — whether they govern marijuana or taxes – people move back and forth in pursuit of their interests. Want to stop the movement? Remove the incentives by leveling the policies.”
According to the article on Reason.Com, Oregon is far from the only state contemplating such a strategy. The article stated, ”Rhode Island Rep. Edith Ajello and Maine Rep. Diane Russell will hold a conference call tomorrow with the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) to announce the legislation. MPP says that “similar proposals will be submitted in at least two other states — Vermont and Massachusetts.”
Could you imagine if a state legislature legalized marijuana instead of the citizens having to force it down their throats via an initiative? Something that seemed impossible to me just two years ago seems like an almost certainty. If five states are pursuing a legislative strategy, I have to assume at least one of them will work. What if all five of them did? What if by the end of 2013 there are 7 states where marijuana is legal? The feds would be helpless, and would be forced to finally, finally respect state marijuana laws. I can only hold my breath in anticipation. What a great time to be a marijuana activists and consumer, am I right!?