Relaymedia

Legalization of Marijuana Brings Problems for Approved States

( [email protected] ) Jan 16, 2014 06:18 PM EST
Washington and Colorado are two states where marijuana has been legalized, but the debates on whether this new law constitutes the appropriate regulations is still in question by even the pro-marijuana groups.
Hundreds line up in Colorado to purchase legal marijuana. (Photo byJohn Wark/Associated Press)

Washington and Colorado are two states where marijuana has been legalized, but the debates on whether this new law constitutes the appropriate regulations is still in question by even the pro-marijuana groups.

On December 10, 2012, the approved Amendment 64 legalized possession of only one ounce of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 in Colorado and Washington. Additionally, the amendment granted residents the right to grow up to six plants in their own homes. These regulations apply for residents of these states who do not have a medical need for marijuana. For medical patients, possession of marijuana can be up to two ounces with doctor's approval.

The legalization of marijuana surprisingly has not effectively prevent all crimes surrounding the substance. In fact, U.S. News reports that "between January and September 2013, 1,194 people were charged in Colorado with possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana, [which is] a misdemeanor." Further reporting showed that up to 6,422 people were charged with carrying small possession in the same year.

More problems for pro-marijuana activist include the prices of the drug, especially in cities of Colorado. Since the start of the new year, prices for pot have increased and even doubled. Many activists have been pushing for a decrease in prices unsuccessfully, as "the group hasn't found any lawmakers willing to sponsor its idea" regarding a price decrease.

An alarming number of shops have elevated in Colorado after a short span of time since the Amendment took place. "They're seeing too many would-be retailers, too. In Seattle, where the state has allotted 21 pot shops, there have been 417 retail license applications." Retailer's pricing and taxes raise concerns whether the boost in these shops would be beneficial to residents and questioned if it would provoke purchasing past the limited amount legally.

Continuing with more problems, rumors of marijuana being purchased through food stamps are enough for Colorado Republicans to take precautionary measures. A new bill was proposed by a number of Republicans who are not in favor of marijuana legalization to ensure that "recipients of public assistance payments and food stamps can't use their electronic benefits cards to access cash."

The state of Washington has also encountered a series of issues with this new legalization. An enormous number of residents are also seeking to plant the drug and produce plants unlimited. "According to figures....more than 2,800 applications have been submitted to produce pot," reports U.S. News. "That's a problem because officials are, at least initially, capping total production at 2 million square feet, or about 46 acres."

Despite the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado, activists and politicians alike are still in debate on whether the new amendment on legalization of marijuana is beneficial. Though residents can have a limited legal possession, the ongoing debates indicate that both sides of this law are still not content.