Welcome to “the greatest social experiment in our history,” as coined by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. The state-level legalization of marijuana for medical and personal or recreational use in the Centennial state remains as guinea pig as it is groundbreaking.
Colorado Testing Nation’s Waters
Though initially opposed to the experiment in his home state, Hickenlooper also now concedes, per this interview with Maria Barteromos, “voters spoke and we’re trying to make it work, and I think we are,” reiterating his stance that “it’s not as vexing as we thought it was going to be.” If Hickenlooper has softened, progress can’t be denied. Many take this to mean that marijuana legalization seems to be working out and, perhaps, without the “vexing” headache lawmakers have feared. Colorado’s legislative stance may be paving the way for other states to follow suit but working out the kinks – for many legalization supporters – is not without some frustration.
Case in point: while legal for individuals to use marijuana in the privacy of their own home, private employers, Colorado’s Supreme Court has recently upheld, have the right to fire employees for marijuana use if they so choose. That’s right – while perfectly legal, an employee can be fired for off-duty weed consumption if it’s against company policy.
Marijuana taxes have been incredibly frustrating too for the state. The Colorado state constitution limits the amount of tax income it can take before residents are due refunds. Taxes raised by legal weed, it’s been assumed, would greatly benefit the state’s public education system. And they will. Just how and how much, however, remains cause for more headache. “Republicans and Democrats say there’s no good reason to put pot taxes back into people’s pockets,” Huffington Post reported earlier this year, “and state officials are scrambling to figure out how to avoid doling out the money (generated by taxes and in excess of constitutional limits).”
For now, for Colorado, the experiment continues. And for the nation, growing impatient with (or otherwise disinterested in) Colorado’s plight to make weed main stream, there’s less and less concern in seeing how things play out. At least 5 more states are looking to vote on legalizing pot this next year, joining Colorado, Washington and those like Alaska, Oregon and Washington DC who are enjoying their own weed, and logistical headaches.