Earlier this month, a Connecticut law legalizing the use of medical marijuana passed both houses and went to Governor Malloy who will sign the bill into law. Connecticut makes the 17thUS state to pass some sort of medical marijuana bill, legalizing its use for medicinal purposes.
Also this month in Virginia, the Charlottesville City Council approved a resolution urging their state to revisit its policies on marijuana possession. Councilman Dave Norris gave his reasoning by stating “I think it’s perfectly legitimate for us to say as an elected body that there are other priorities.” Even the Charlottesville Chief of Police Timothy Longo admitted that “The Charlottesville Police Department has…utilized its funding to appropriately address higher priority crimes in our city than marijuana possession.”
As many states and communities see an economic benefit from the sale of medical marijuana and lack the funding to prosecute the growing numbers of users, the federal government has taking a stance in the other direction. The federal government recently filed lawsuits against many medical marijuana growers in California and there has been a growing attempt by the feds to undermine medical marijuana in many states.
The battle of states’ rights versus federal laws on marijuana only looks to heat up in the near future as more and more pressure is put on the states to come up with money without raising taxes during the poor economic times. Many believe that marijuana legalization and sales could actually jump start the economy. Harvard Economist Jeffrey Miron recently published a paper suggesting that the government could save over $7 billion a year by legalizing marijuana and Forbes.com reports that the city of Sacramento brought in over a quarter of a million dollars during the first month of taxing medical marijuana.
While money appears to be the biggest factor in this fight, many are concerned over the drugs actual use. Marijuana use for teens is up according to recent reports and many are concerned. Some are saying that making pot legal for adults might help cut teen usage. “If we remove marijuana from the criminal market and have the market run by responsible business people that have an incentive to check IDs and not sell to minors, then we might see those rates drop again” says Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the group The Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates the legalization of marijuana.
With the federal government’s attempts to stop it going up in smoke, many states and communities are becoming more open to marijuana’s legalization and the money that comes along with it.