TUESDAY MORNING EDITORIAL — It’s legal to buy and smoke marijuana in Washington state today, and pot advocates say it’s about time.
Washington residents voted in November of 2012 to legalize marijuana for those 21 and over. Growing and selling marijuana is, as of today, done under a state licence.
The state isn’t booming with marijuana stores yet but at least one in Seattle, another in Bellingham and another in Spokane plus a couple of others were set to open, and more will soon follow as soon as they get their licences.
In B.C., where you still can’t buy dope in a store — and can no longer do so even if you’re a medical marijuana user — there’s a whole new reason to cross-border shop.
It took a long time between approval from the electorate and getting marijuana on the shelves, but it will be worth it if the state gets it right.
Despite the care taken with regulations surrounding legalization, the Washington public remains divided over the issue — it passed with only a 55-per cent majority. It’s a big change for Washington; this writer lived in Seattle in the late ’60s and reported on the nightly busts of hippies by narcotics agents for smoking dope. One couldn’t imagine at that time a day when it would be legal.
There’s no immediate indication of a sweeping trend in favour of legalizing marijuana, though Colorado voted for it the same time as Washington state. Certainly, without a change in Canada’s federal government, legalization won’t happen here any time soon.
So, British Columbia’s pot smokers will have to content themselves for now by crossing the border for the enjoyment of being able to freely buy and use marijuana. Still, one wonders how much influence the proximity of this new legal marijuana market place will have on thinking on our side of the border in the long term.