Colorado’s Governor, John Hickenlooper, stated yesterday that the decision to legalize recreational marijuana by Colorado voters was reckless. Why did he say this? Because regardless of how you feel about personal adult marijuana use – the ability to regulate marijuana is being found an impossible task in Colorado. There simply is not enough money, not enough man-power, not enough standardized measurement, not enough consistency and not enough integrity to make this work.
Wait …. did I say “integrity”? What does that have to do with anything?
We in Colorado have found that the Big Marijuana proponents, sponsored by big dollars …. come in to our states with a strategic plan that fits their own agenda. They write the laws (NOT our policy-makers), they write the regulatory framework, they call the shots and then …. they fight regulation every step of the way. The very regulation THEY proposed and promised would be followed by their industry because they want to be legitimized.
But in “real life” it doesn’t work that way. If stricter regulation is called for (example: tighter measures to keep it out of the hands of children) the marijuana proponents and their attorneys threaten with fear tactics of keeping the black market alive (it’s thriving anyway), threaten to file lawsuits, make personal attacks on people concerned about public health and safety, misuse and misquote statistics, ignore the science, and use every other diversion tactic imaginable to reject ACTUAL regulation.
It’s no wonder marijuana legalization efforts are being RUSHED through states quickly – providing extremely short time-frames to create governance and oversight, tying the hands of policy-makers from the ability to explore all options and learn best practices. We have no evidence-based model that regulation works and in Colorado we are sadly learning that regulation is a mirage.
Let’s call it what it is … commercialized marijuana. Think “Big Tobacco”. If we could go back in time 100 years and witness the Tobacco industry touting cigarettes as healthy, as medicinal, as a natural resource good for our bodies … would we sit by and support it? Would we let them market to our children? It would be reckless to do so. And reckless in Colorado is what we are.
Time will prove this to be true over and over again. Time we cannot recover and mistakes we cannot unmake.