As you may have heard, there is going to be an initiative on the ballot in Colorado this November related to marijuana. It will appear as Amendment 64 and is called the Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol — because that is exactly what it does.
Amendment 64 will make the possession of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. It will allow cities and towns to establish regulated cultivation facilities and retail stores, creating jobs and generating much-needed tax revenue. And it will direct the state Legislature to enact an additional excise tax, with the first $40 million
raised every year going toward a public school construction fund.
Putting the details of the initiative aside, I just wanted to send you a quick note to share some of my personal observations about marijuana. Like most people in my generation, I have spent a lot of time around marijuana and alcohol. While only one is legal, the use of each one is pretty widespread. And what I have noticed throughout time is that alcohol is the one that causes the most problems among users. Whether it is a bar fight, a heated (or even violent) argument between a boyfriend and girlfriend or simply an extremely intoxicated young woman getting sick at a party, alcohol almost always is to blame.
On the other hand, marijuana rarely is associated with these kinds of incidents. Instead, marijuana tends to stimulate conversation or the desire to enjoy a concert or watch a movie. You simply don’t see people using marijuana and then getting out of control or aggressive. For what it’s worth, there also are no hangovers after a night of marijuana use.
I am not trying to make it seem like marijuana is the greatest thing in the world. But given the choice between alcohol and marijuana, I think it is entirely reasonable for a person to prefer to use marijuana when they want to relax or socialize with friends. This is how many young people feel today. We live in an alcohol-dominated society, but many young people — and many older people, too — just want to make a safer choice.
I hope that we have a chance to talk about this more before the election.