Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Doobie Do: The Dutch Change Their Minds and Legal Toking Comes to the US

Giggle weed is getting the last laugh.

In Holland last week, the incoming government abandoned plans for instituting a national weed pass, which would have effectively barred tourists from lighting up legally in the Netherlands. The government is going to allow individual cities to decide whether or not to bar outsiders from coffee shops and other hashish and marijuana purveyors. In practical terms, this means that the party will go on, unaffected, in Amsterdam, where the local government had been fighting the pass system for over two years.

But weed-loving tourists will no longer have to cross the Atlantic to toke. Yesterday, two little commented-on ballot initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington State, decriminalizing the possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana (a similar measure failed in Oregon). Those two states already had passed medical marijuana laws; now they'll be allowing recreational marijuana use, as well.

Or will they? Under federal law, marijuana possession is still a crime, punishable by jail time. Its a conundrum for government officials. Colorado governor John Hickenlooper told USA Today ""The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will. This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don't break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly."

But it's an open secret that the Feds haven't done much about medical marijuana purveyors in these states, even when they were very obviously selling their goods for non-medicinal purposes. To my mind, the political will behind a crackdown isn't there. Not only would it raise the hackles of states rights defenders, but it also would anger the 50% of Americans who support the legalization of marijuana (according to the most recent Gallup Poll).

So will tourists soon be getting their "Rocky Mountain High"? Its an issue we'll all be watching.

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