Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-07-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

GUEST COLUMN What can happen when a state goes to pot?
by Johnny Welsh
2017-09-06

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


In recent years, many states, including Colorado, have legalized marijuana for medical purposes without much fanfare or controversy. However, when the citizens of Colorado voted to legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use beginning in 2014, a new industry was created that changed the economy, the culture, and the population of the state.

Anticipating an outcry of opposition, the legislature enacted strict laws and regulations: 1 ) Sellers and growers are required to buy licenses; 2 ) Buyers have to be 21, and are allowed to possess only one ounce; 3 ) Out-of-state visitors are limited to one-quarter ounce; 4 ) Possessing 12 or more ounces is a felony. So is giving marijuana to anyone under 21; 5 ) All purchases have to be in cash; 6 ) Consumption is not allowed in public places; 7 ) Driving under the influence is illegal. So is taking marijuana out of the state; 7 ) Start-up businesses are at risk, since the sale and purchase of marijuana continues to be illegal at the federal level.

Rules didn't prevent thousands of people from taking advantage of the opportunity to profit from the new industry. The "Green Rush" began and local entrepreneurs and hordes of people from around the country and other nations clamored to join the fun. They opened dispensaries and pot farms. In addition to new head shops, retailers of all sorts sold T-shirts, stickers, vaporizers, pipes, cookbooks with marijuana recipes, and a wide range of related paraphernalia. Tourism exploded, and several resorts promoted cannabis vacations.

By the end of the first year of legalization, Colorado had an estimated 1,700 medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries. They created over 18,000 new jobs and added $44 million to Colorado's tax revenues. The state had the lowest unemployment rate in the union, and the increase in sales and ancillary businesses increased the state's economy by $2.4 billion. Last year Colorado collected $200 million in taxes and fees, $138 million going to education.

The excitement and economic advantages have been tempered by the apprehensions of people who were opposed to legalization. They were afraid that more people would be irresponsibly stoned more often, it would be easier to for kids to access pot, and that accidents would increase.

Some of these concerns and others have materialized, but there have been no comprehensive studies that reflect the extent of the damage. So far, the predicted consequences have not been severe, although some people have been hospitalized for eating brownies cookies, chocolate bars and other edibles without knowing how much cannabis they contained.

The most apparent downside is a growing number of newcomers and transients who are crowded into the cities and towns. Housing costs have increased, rents have escalated, and the number of homeless in Colorado is high. Many came to Colorado seeking jobs, but were not qualified for the work available. Also, certain positions require a prospective employee to be a citizen of Colorado for one year before being hired in the cannabis industry.

Several other states are considering legalization of marijuana, and are watching what is happening in Colorado and the eight other states that have decriminalized cannabis.

Johnny Welsh is the author of Weedgalized in Colorado: True Tales From the High Country. He has been a popular professional bartender for 20 years in Frisco, Colorado and he has been a boots-on-the-ground witness to the historical marijuana movement that has captured the imagination of the entire country.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SOUND THE ALARMS Supreme Court pick could dismantle LGBTQ rights 2018-07-18 - The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court should alarm every member of the LGBT community. His record demonstrates that if he ...


Gay News

Independence Day celebration for whom? 2018-07-11 - Last week we celebrated the Fourth of July with rounds of festivities marking our nation's 242 years of independence. Scenes of hyperpatriotism were ...


Gay News

GenForward surveys millennials' views on LGBT issues: race, identity, experience 2018-07-09 - Do more Millennials self-identify as LGBTQ than in past generations… or are they just more open about it? Are they more connected to ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT When they come for me 2018-07-04 - When they come to tell me to move to the back of the bus, the answer is no, I'm not moving. When they ...


Gay News

LETTERS Being human, meeting obligations to children 2018-06-27 - Being human To whom it may concern: Every day at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, we teach about the dangers ...


Gay News

Raoul for AG attacks opponent on anti-gay views 2018-06-25 - CHICAGO — As we celebrate Pride Month, Kwame Raoul's campaign for Attorney General has released a new video, "Republican Erika Harold: Wrong for ...


Gay News

Money bond, pretrial incarceration hurting Chicago's LGBTQ Communities 2018-06-20 - On any given day, more than 90% of people in Cook County Jail ( "CCJ" ) are presumed innocent and yet are locked ...


Gay News

What's happening to Pride? 2018-06-20 - I like to say there was something in the air that made Pride 2017—here and abroad—one of the most contentious events in its ...


Gay News

Cakeshop ruling doesn't crumple our opponents 2018-06-13 - A pall hung over me June 4. The Supreme Court ruled in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in favor of ...


Gay News

Trigger warning, mental health, suicide prevention and survivor guilt 2018-06-13 - Trigger warning: mental health. Simply put, suicide can kiss my ASS. If you're a fellow family/friend survivor, I'm sending you tons of ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.