Image: eggrole / Flickr / Creative Commons
Like 55 percent of Colorado voters last fall, I cast a Well duh, yes to legalize marijuana in the state. The new amendment went into effect in January, but said decree also allows (or requires) the state until this July to come up with a suitable batch of regulations for the new weed marketplace. Who can sell the stuff? Who can grow it? And crucially, how is it going to be taxed?
Tax revenue is a standard refrain for weed advocates. Moving a black-market industry above ground, their thinking goes, means dollars for governments to do cool stuff like, say, more effectively educate children.
But to be honest, the whole situation is kind of frustrating. I'm highly interested in the idea of going to a store to buy buds. For me, this mostly has to do with avoiding the intimacy of buying weed from a drug dealer. Alas, I won't be able to walk into a store for an eighth any time in the near future. This is still illegal.
My situation at the moment actually lays somewhere in between the two poles of drug dealer and store. That is to say, I'm "gifted" weed legally from someone growing it. See, there are two big changes imposed by the law that took effect immediately: the legalization of growing your own pot (up to a cap) and also the legal gifting of a small amount of it to another person that is not growing it, or that has not purchased it themselves under the guise of the green cross.
Colorado already has weed stores--medical marijuana dispensaries--so it all works out well, particularly if you know someone with a medical marijuana card. Or, for the convenience of just going to the store yourself, the doctor of choice comes through my town once every three or four weeks and sees "patients" in a hotel lobby. It costs about $150 bucks, but it's probably worth the cash. The proprietor of my local dispensary estimates it'll be mid-2014 until actual open-to-all weed stores actually open. Which is frustrating.