The times they keep a’changin’

Take a stroll through ancient history with us to a time, say, oh, seven years ago in Colorado. Marijuana advocates who were caught handing out free doobies in public — as several were in Denver and Boulder last week — would have faced at minimum minor criminal charges for possession of a controlled substance. Potentially, they could have faced far more serious charges for distribution of marijuana.

But such a scenario is soooo 2006. That was the year, old-timers in this state may recall, when Coloradans actually rejected a ballot measure to legalize small amounts of marijuana.

Six years later, in 2012, Colorado voters had another opportunity to consider the legalization of marijuana. This time they approved it.

As a result, members of the group who handed out free joints in Denver and Boulder last week — during rallies to oppose this year’s measure to assess new taxes on marijuana — aren’t facing criminal charges. Instead, they are the subject of a complaint alleging they violated campaign finance laws because they failed to disclose how much the marijuana cigarettes cost and who paid for them.

From criminal contraband to legal political contribution in just a few short years: Even those Coloradans who haven’t imbibed in legalized marijuana can be forgiven if it seems to them the world is spinning wildly.


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