Colorado’s governor has changed and now believes legalization is a good thing. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) opposed the campaign to legalize marijuana in his state. But in a recent interview with CNN’s Cristina Alesci, Hickenlooper seems to have warmed up to legalization after seeing its successful first year in Colorado, which was one of the first two states to legalize pot through a ballot initiative in 2012.
The governor said: “It hasn’t been the economic miracle, the economic sensation that people thought it was going to be,” Hickenlooper said. “But at the same time, it hasn’t been the nightmare that a lot of us skeptics and critics thought it would be.” Asked if he’s changed his stance on pot since 2012, Hickenlooper elaborated: I think I have changed. I mean I’m still in the process. I haven’t made up my mind. Hickenlooper points out Colorado’s legalization rollout has faced few problems so far. The most dire warnings—like those about an increase in crime—never became reality. And the state government is getting $75 million in revenue from it all—not that much for a $10-billion general budget, but it’s money that was going to criminals before.
It should be obvious the question “If the CNMI should legalize it?” has been answered by a governor who was once against legalization and the only question is how to best legalize, control, and live with marijuana in our society. But unlike Colorado that only collects 7 percent sales tax, the CNMI government operation I am proposing will be far more financially beneficial collecting 100 percent of all revenues that will be shared with the private sector. The CNMI can have the best marijuana laws to create state revenues and the est controls in the nation if the Legislature will follow the researched plan that I have proposed.
How legalizing pot affected 1M teens
A big boost for medical marijuana advocates: A massive study involving data on a million teenagers in 48 states has found no evidence that legalizing pot for medical use does anything to increase teen usage, the Guardian reports. The study, published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal, looked at some 1,098,270 8th grade, 10th grade, and 12th grade students over 24 years; the teens had been asked if they used pot in the last 30 days. The researchers found that teenage pot use not only failed to rise in the 21 contiguous states where medical marijuana was legalized as of 2014 (Alaska and Hawaii bring the nation’s total to 23), usage actually went down among the youngest teenagers, from about 8 percent before the law was passed to 6 percent after.
In states that brought in medical marijuana laws, teen pot use was already slightly higher than in other states, at about 16 percent usage to 13 percent. Experts say that could be due to a more liberal general attitude toward the drug, Live Science reports. Please note that in the CNMI marijuana use is widely sociably acceptable and should see the same kind of decrease in teen use as states with a similar use level.
“Our study findings suggest that the debate over the role of medical marijuana laws in adolescent marijuana use should cease, and that resources should be applied to identifying the factors that do affect risk,” the researchers wrote. As for why pot use fell among 8th graders after it was legalized for medical purposes, here’s one theory: that the teens started to see marijuana as a relatively harmless medical product, which “certainly doesn’t fit with the idea of being a rebellious teenager,” writes Debra Borchardt in Forbes.
This was a very powerful and informing study that destroys the myth that children will go crazy smoking marijuana under medical legalization and even full legalization. We now have the proof that legalization is not an influencing factor to making teens use marijuana as skeptics once believed. Based on my own observations of teen marijuana users it is more “peer driven” and “environmentally driven through relationships such as an older family member who grows and smokes and allows teen use.” The only difference under full legalization is more access potential with the hundreds of dispensaries that can’t be fully monitored in every aspect of their operation. But a CNMI government operation will eliminate the worry of marijuana being sold to our youth at a government (state) store.
The CNMI is figuratively standing on a gold mine but we act like we don’t know what to do and to make it worst we are moving at a snail’s paste while the rest of America is moving at warp speed figuratively. There is absolutely no reason why the CNMI should at the very least be experimenting with full legalization because we can never be successful in dealing with all the good and bad effects of marijuana until we try to deal with it! One people, one direction for full legalization and a brighter future for the CNMI!
Ambrose M. Bennett