Hashing out pot details

A quick search of the Internet this week didn’t reveal any organized out-of-state excursions to Colorado, now that we’re one of two states — the other being Washington — where marijuana will soon be legal under state law.

However, there are clearly folks contemplating visits to Colorado because of the passage of Amendment 64.

And that’s one more issue among many that Coloradans will have to deal with as Amendment 64 takes effect. The Daily Sentinel’s Charles Ashby outlined many of those issues in a front-page article Thursday.

On the tourism front, it’s apparent Colorado and Washington will, for the time being, attract a new type of visitors.

An article in the Kansas City Star Thursday reported on the likelihood of Sunflower State residents crossing into Colorado to stock up on pot — much as they once did to refill their Coors beer supplies — even though pot is illegal in Kansas.

And the Aspen Times Thursday ran a special edition of its Sunday feature, “Tweet All About It,” to handle all of the marijuana-related comments sent to the newspaper via Twitter. It included comments such as:

✔ “Colorado? Legalized marijuana? Pack your bags! Last minute trip to Aspen!”

✔ “Our ski trip to aspen finna be so live now that Mary Jane can be there.”

✔ “My snowboard and bong are going to love this.”

How much of a headache or economic boom this Thc-tourism will cause is anybody’s guess. Many law enforcement officials in Colorado, such as Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey, are understandably worried about it. And, as Colorado Attorney General John Suthers noted this week, Amendment 64’s language was flawed about collecting taxes on marijuana sales. It will take another ballot measure to approve the tax for education.

If the marijuana lobby has its way, Colorado and Washington won’t be alone for long. The goal is to push other states and eventually the federal government to end pot prohibition.

The success of the ballot measures in these two states may also encourage marijuana legalization efforts already under way in places like Uraguay and Chile, according to experts quoted in a Seattle Times story this week.

Meanwhile Washington, like Colorado, is attempting to answer a number of questions related to legalized marijuana. For both states, they include:

✔ What sort of regulations are needed for retail pot shops?

✔ What about commercial growers?

✔ How can the state effectively collect tax revenue from legal marijuana?

✔ Will it cause more crime, as cops fear, or reduce it, as proponents claim?

✔ Will pot be more easily available to youngsters, or less so?

✔ How will the U.S. Justice Department respond to these state laws that directly contradict federal law?

Recreational use of marijuana will be legal under state law in Colorado in a few weeks, but the long-term effect upon the state is a picture too fuzzy to discern for now.


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