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State laws gradually going to Marijuana

Marijuana laws loosen gradually around the globe

Marijuana

From the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, state laws restricting marijuana use are slowly going up in smoke, a newspaper review indicates. Advocates of legalizing marijuana say shifts propelled by culture, politics and generational attitudes have moved the United States to the point that could see the relaxation of 40 years of tough restrictions on medicinal and recreational marijuana use, USA Today reported Tuesday.

“Let’s face reality,” said James Gray, a one-time federal prosecutor who now advocates legalizing marijuana. “Taxing and regulating marijuana will make it less available to children than it is today.”

A Gallup Poll in October indicated 44 percent of respondents said they favored legalizing marijuana. An ABC News-Washington Post poll in January indicated 81 percent said they favored legalizing marijuana for medical use. Last fall, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said raiding medical marijuana facilities would be the lowest priority, a move that prompted many states to re-examine their pot policies.

At least 14 states this year will consider legalizing marijuana for medical purposes or reducing penalties for possessing small amounts for personal use. Fourteen other states and the District of Columbia already eased up their marijuana laws.

Marijuana growing room

“We are absolutely in an important new era in which increasing majorities of Americans are not just questioning the wisdom and efficacy of marijuana prohibition but are demanding alternatives,” Stephen Gutwillig, California director for the Drug Policy Alliance, which favors legalizing marijuana, told USA Today. Even opponents admit it’s harder to persuade lawmakers to hang tough.

“We’re going to multiply the problems we have with alcohol abuse,” said Michael Carroll, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and police chief of West Goshen Township in Chester County, Pa. “Things are not […]

Colorado’s Green Rush

Colorado’s Green Rush: Medical marijuana

Medical marijuana

Denver, Colorado (CNN) — Driving down Broadway, it’s easy to forget you are in the United States. Amid the antique stores, bars and fast-food joints occupying nearly every block are some of Denver’s newest businesses: medical marijuana dispensaries.

The locals call this thoroughfare “Broadsterdam.” As in Amsterdam, Netherlands, these businesses openly advertise their wares, often with signs depicting large green marijuana leaves.

“The American capitalist system is working,” said attorney and medical marijuana advocate Rob Corry. It’s a matter of supply and demand.

“The demand has always been there,” he said, “and the demand is growing daily because more doctors are willing to do this, and now businesses, entrepreneurs, mom-and-pop shops are cropping up to create a supply.”

Colorado voters legalized medical marijuana in 2000. For years, patients could get small amounts from “caregivers,” the term for growers and dispensers who could each supply only five patients. In 2007, a court lifted that limit and business boomed.

Between 2000 and 2008, the state issued about 2,000 medical marijuana cards to patients. That number has grown to more than 60,000 in the last year.

State Sen. Chris Romer, a Democrat whose south Denver district includes Broadsterdam, said the state receives more than 900 applications a day.

“It’s growing so fast, it’s like the old Wild West,” Romer said. “This reminds me of 1899 in Cripple Creek, Colorado, when somebody struck gold. Every 49er in the country is making it for Denver to open a medical marijuana dispensary.”

They’re calling it the Green Rush. Corry, who has represented defendants in medical marijuana cases for years, is taking a different role: He has formed the Colorado Wellness Association, a trade group representing medical marijuana growers and providers. “We want to be the Better […]