- Sex & Drugs
- 24 Nov 16
It wasn’t just the execrable Donald Trump that tens of millions of Americans voted for, with marijuana referenda passed on both coasts.
The ‘Audacity of Dope’ headlines were plentiful on November 8, as America’s marijuana industry proved to be almost as big an election-day winner as Donald Trump.
Courtesy of referenda attached to the Presidential ballot, recreational marijuana is now legal in Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine and California, the sixth largest economy in the world, where Proposition 64 was supported by 56% of voters.
They join Washington D.C., Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and Washington state in allowing anyone over the age of 18 to freely smoke pot.
Saying “yes” to medicinal marijuana were Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota and Maine.
“We are very excited that citizens of California voted to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition,” reflects Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association. “Proposition 64 will allow California to take its rightful place as the centre of cannabis innovation, research and development.”
Staunch Proposition 64 supporter Snoop Dogg said in the run-up to the referendum: “Go to Amsterdam where it’s legal, and you see that the crime rate is non-existent, the murder rate is probably under 10%, people learn to get along! There are people riding on bicycles being happy and it’s because of the environment that’s provided by the legalisation of marijuana.”
He also defended the Twitter posting of a photo that shows his teenage son, Spank, lighting his giant bong.
“My kids can do whatever the hell they want,” he tells the Hollywood Reporter. “For me to say otherwise would be hypocritical. A lot of motherfuckers don’t have a relationship with their kids, and that’s when they get on drugs and have suicidal thoughts and drive drunk. Me and my son is mellow. I’m his father, so I wanna show him the proper way, because he looks up to me.”
FBI figures show that 643,000 people were arrested for marijuana offences in 2015, with over 12,000 people currently residing in federal prisons having been found guilty of either possession or supply. Due to the vagaries of American law, the referenda are not recognised by the Federal Government, which among other things means that legal marijuana businesses can’t have bank accounts. That could prove to be the least of their worries with the man chosen by Donald Trump to serve as Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, proferring in April that, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana, We need grown-ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalised, it ought not to be minimised, that it is in fact a very real danger.”
It suggests a depressing and potentially damaging drift back towards the prohibitionism questioned last year by Barack Obama.
“I’d separate out the issue of decriminalisation of marijuana from encouraging its use,” President Obama said. “There is no doubt that our criminal justice system generally is so heavily skewed toward cracking down on nonviolent drug offenders that it has not just had a terrible effect on many communities, particularly communities of colour, rendering a lot of folks unemployable because they got felony records, disproportionate prison sentences. It costs a huge amount of money to states. And a lot of states are starting to figure that out.”
In Washington state, where there’s 37% excise on marijuana, they’re expecting to raise over $250 million this year in taxes, with a large chunk of the money earmarked for the public school system.
So mainstream and respectable has dope become, indeed, that that the NFL Players Association are considering marijuana as a pain-management mechanism.
In Colorado, a state with a similar population to Ireland, the marijuana industry is worth over $1 billion a year with $140 million likely to go into the public coffers in 2016 as a result.
There’s been no evidence whatsoever of negative effects, with addiction to hard drugs down in a couple of states and no increase in people driving under the influence of marijuana.
In another landmark vote, November 8 also saw the smoking of marijuana in the outside sections of Denver bars and restaurants being made legal.
In light of the promises he made this week to Vera Twomey in relation to her six-year-old daughter, Ava Barry, who has a catastrophic form of epilepsy, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, should get himself on a plane to Denver pronto and see how it’s properly done.