A Happy New Year: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Hello and welcome to our second week of 2014! There are many things I enjoy about starting off a new year: not choosing a New Year’s Resolution, hearing about what awesome member of the animal kingdom was chosen to represent this year in the Chinese Zodiac—2014 is the year of the horse—and the political sideshow resulting from the previous November’s election day. Thankfully, this year does not disappoint. If you follow current events like your elementary school social studies teacher taught you to, you already know what has me all kinds of giddy: Colorado & Weed. [Cue Applause]

That’s right folks; Colorado has legalized the recreational use of marijuana! The enlightenment era has begun, albeit one state at a time. Disclaimer: I have never and never will be in favor of *MY* personal use of drugs. I barely drink. I won’t smoke. Those things just don’t appeal to me. However, just because I choose to live my life a certain way, doesn’t mean that I want to be the one to decide how any or everyone else chooses to live theirs. Variety is the spice of life and personal preferences are no exception.

I know what you’re thinking… I mean, I don’t live in Colorado. I don’t have any intention of personally reaping any benefit from its legalization. “Why Reign? Why is this such an exciting development?” Why, you ask?  Because it means that as a nation, we United States of Americans are one step closer to having restored “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as the foundation of how we treat our people, and the rest of the world. It means that at least some State governments can put the needs of its constituents ahead of their personal senses of political correctness. But mostly it’s exciting because we will finally have a real-time example of what common-sense drug legislation can do for an economy; I’m talking taxes, jobs, and a much needed 21st century boom that can literally hold its own weight for generations to come. On the first day of legalized recreational Marijuana sales in Colorado, the revenue topped 1 million dollars… yes, that’s $1,000,000.00 in one day.

Now, I could talk about the jobs created by simply opening stores… perhaps I’d rather talk about the government jobs created specifically for managing the oversight of the “new” industry. Or maybe I should skip to the jobs that should be created for the sole purpose of reintroducing the people who were incarcerated under now antiquated laws… I should probably even make a point about the fact that many of them already know the best ways to grow and move product in the most efficient and cost effective methods. No. Better stick to the generic: Yay Jobs!

And of course there’s my favorite point of all… Marijuana is after all a “gateway drug.” Once the government gets the taste of the addictive tax dollars from Marijuana revenues, they’ll probably start checking out all the other cool taxable narcotics. That is what all the cool kids are doing… right? So let’s get a bit serious for a moment…

Has the illegal status of any drug solved any drug related problem? NO. Has it made any difference in the so called “War on Drugs?” NO. Has it stopped people from getting or taking drugs when they want it? NO. Which kinds of people make up the greater population of those in prisons and jailhouses nationwide? The poor, the under educated, we the so-called minorities. More importantly, which group of people is making the greatest profit from the peddling and use thereafter of said narcotics? I’m not answering that question because you should already know the answer.

Let me step back so you can get a better picture of what I’m getting at…

The legalization of illegal intoxicants (sounds better than drugs or narcotics, right?) could make it less attractive to rebellious youths. It could make seeking help for rehabilitation easier for those ready to take that step. It might encourage the scientific community to do more research on the effects of drugs that is more objective and less presumptuous. It might help suffering cancer patients feel more comfortable seeking the relief that marijuana has been clinically found to provide. It might help find other medicinal uses for other intoxicants. I highly doubt that anyone who has not tried any drugs will run out and start snorting, injecting, or smoking just because it’s legal. More often than not, we want those things that we can’t have. Now that it’s no longer taboo,  I can’t imagine someone like me waking up one day to hear that intoxicants are no longer illegal and deciding to go buy a bit of Crystal Meth, some ecstasy, or even an ounce of Purple Haze. I just don’t see it.

As a matter of fact, even if present-day non-users were to start using just because it’s no longer illegal, the worst that could happen would be an increase of happy people walking around seeing flying monkeys and talking to street signs. There might be an increasing amount of people “trippin” out for no apparent reason. There would probably be a huge increase of absenteeism in schools and the workplace. Companies might have to include a “Coke Hour” or periodic “Weed Breaks” in their daily schedules. There could be bars with the different kinds of Ecstasy on their menu.

Businesses could give people who don’t do drugs higher salaries because they need fewer breaks throughout the day and have an easier time actually getting their work done. Commercials and TV shows would be sooo friggin funny–because half the people on creative teams would be on one hallucinogen or another.

But I digress… [Figuratively stepping forward, returning to our present reality] What we have now is one state serving as an awesome example of how government can get out of its own way and use something that people are unwilling to give up to their advantage. I think it’s Tony the Tiger level Grrrrrreeaat! So here’s hoping for more governmental #EpicPass moments. Considering Washington State and the city of Portland, Maine are in the process of solidifying their marijuana sales regulations, it looks like this might not be the last time I have something to applaud the government for this year. Maybe we can finally get our tax dollars’ worth out of them after all.

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