Crochetta: It’s not should we legalize but how we legalize

Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Vidda Crochetta, a longtime hemp and marijuana activist and the author of “Boomers’ War,” a novel about the 1960’s antiwar, drug and bisexual culture in Greenwich Village.

The race to be the first state to legalize marijuana is over.

History, once made, turns all eyes forward.

In the 2012 national election, two state legislatures passed “nonmedical-marijuana legalization.” You will see a flurry of opening and closing of doors. Doors that will open for other states to enact marijuana legalization or keep it unlawful; doors that will take us
into the court challenges to uphold or strike down legalization; doors that will open or deny the legal business of marijuana commerce; and some doors, that once opened cannot be shut.

This is a new beginning where the rush forward follows our second wind, and each breath along our reform-movement meridian is deeper than the next.

As Sen. Jeanette White, D-Putney, on the Nov. 13 Marijuana Resolve Show, stated, “It’s not should we legalize, but how we legalize.” [http://vp.telvue.com/player?id=T01304&video=135713&mini=true]

Thanks to two state legislatures, Colorado and Washington, both willing to defy the federal government, these are really exciting times. Or shall I say heady times?

Indeed, the historical and long-term significance should not be underestimated.

Population estimates as of July 2011 for Colorado is 5.1 million and for Washington it is 6.9 million. Now there are 12 million people who can look marijuana prohibitionists in the eye and say, “kiss my b—.”

Those of us who were outspoken can say with blunt justification that we are part of the progressive movement to bring about a reasonable and peaceful resolution to the marijuana and hemp conflict.

It no longer matters what the anti-marijuana people think anymore. I feel the same way about adult marijuana consumption as I do about alcohol. As a happy drinker of my glasses of port and sherry, no one had better not tell me that I should not drink when I follow DWI and
other laws. I would call upon the euphemistically famous “two-words” to tell them in a heartbeat to “mind your business.”

Marijuana consumers have had to take a lot of abuse from largely ignorant, biased, and politically motivated people, not to mention, the half-witted, antidrug headline chasers.

Over the past 25 years I have joined others voices to keep open a public dialogue for cannabis reform. Those of us who were outspoken can say with blunt justification that we are part of the progressive movement to bring about a reasonable and peaceful resolution to the
marijuana and hemp conflict.

It remains to be seen, however, if Colorado, Washington and future states are able to overcome the objections of the federal government. Certainly, Colorado and Washington employed peaceful resolutions when their voter initiatives passed.

Even so, the CNN PoliticalTicker blog reports, that Gov. John Hickenlooper said, “Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”

Additionally, ABC News reports: “Even though the issues have passed, they are likely to meet legal challenges very quickly. In 2005, the Supreme Court struck down a California law that legalized medical marijuana in the state. The court said Congress had the power to
criminalize marijuana under the Commerce Clause.”

In both Colorado and Washington, the state voters passed the legalization referendums that do not require the governor’s signature,and where both governors did not support and, in fact, opposed the marijuana initiatives. After the voter initiatives passed, however, both governors said they would not stand in the way of implementing the law.

The federal government should take notice that 12 million people have spoken. The key point for the feds to focus on is that it is not possible for all 12 million people to have criminal intent. And, if they’re not criminals, why are they treated like criminals?

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