I’ve noticed that every article on marijuana legalization tends to devolve pretty quickly into groan-inducing puns, until you wind up with a sentence like “The DO-Mary-J hit a new high today, ending the chronic problems of marijuana growers who might have had to serve four, 20 or some other number of years behind bars. Prosecuting recreational users is not HIGH on their list, so now herb enthusiasts can stop being paranoid and devote their time to [something about craving snacks and what good news this is for the makers of Hostess products].”
My only hope is that, proportionally as progress is made on the legalizing, regulating, and dealing with marijuana front, this will cease happening. But that’s probably a pipe dream. (Oh no, I’m contaminated with it!)
But puns aside, progress is being made! Thursday afternoon, the Department of Justice announced that it is going to “trust but verify” when it comes to states legalizing marijuana. This means urging prosecutors to hold back as long as states have regulations in place to ensure that the DOJ’s primary goals are met. These goals, unsurprisingly, do not include Keeping Recreational Users Away From The Reefer Lest Madness Ensue. Instead, the DOJ wants states to focus on such issues as keeping the drug out of the hands of minors, stopping gang and cartel sales, and keeping growers off federal lands. So, assuming your state has its regulations up to snuff, you can go forth and, er, watch “Beetlejuice” as it was intended to be seen.
The legalizer states now have the exciting task of regulating marijuana like any other substance, deciding how the market should work (see Sarah Kliff’s piece on the subject) and generally leaching all the fun out of it, if your definition of “fun” is “paying more for and having to buy surreptitiously in parks.” No more of this prohibition-era nonsense! Now, if you think you are being pursued by sinister federal agents, that is on you.