The Washington Post:
Back in 1932, Colorado voters took to the polls and approved
Amendment 7, a bill that legalized alcohol consumption and ended
Now, 80 years later, the state is weighing Amendment 64, a voter proposition that would similarly legalize marijuana.
Colorado voters aren’t alone: Oregon and Washington will take up
similar measures on Tuesday. If any of the three voter propositions
succeed, they would put the an American state left of the Netherlands on
marijuana policy – and upend the economics of a contraband market.
“It would be unprecedented,” said Jonathan Caulkins, a professor at
Carnegie Mellon University whose research focuses on marijuana
legalization. “If one of these things passed, the United States would be
right out there in the front of the liberal reform movement for drugs.”
Supporters of marijuana legalization in Colorado have done what
nearly every other politician has done this cycle: Focus on the positive
economic impact of their proposal. Talk about small businesses. And
above all, emphasize job creation.
“There are hundreds of thousands of jobs on the table, and a great
deal of tax revenue,” said Tvert, co-director of the Colorado Campaign
to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “It would take profits away from
drug cartels and direct them toward legitimate, Colorado businesses.”
In Colorado, Amendment 64 would put an excise tax on marijuana products. The Colorado Center on Law and Policy estimates
the law would generate $46 million in new revenue while reducing law
enforcement spending by $16 million. The law would direct the
legislature to send the revenue generated by the excise tax to local
“When we saw alcohol prohibition fall, states began to repeal it
first,” Tvert said. “They saw it was problematic and wasn’t working. The
federal government followed a few years later.
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