Seventy-seven years ago the first federal conviction for the sale of marijuana took place. Many would never have guessed that this conviction happened in Colorado, which ironically became the first state to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana last week. Where prohibition on marijuana started in the United States, it now seems to be ending.
Although the possession and sale of marijuana is still illegal under federal law, the sale of approximately $1 million in marijuana on the first day of state-legal sales in Colorado shows how laws and community values evolve over time. While the use of marijuana in Colorado is not without restrictions, the ability for the legal process to change as values of the community change and evidence is presented to support new viewpoints, shows just how the legal process can be reformed.
Although recreational marijuana sales are currently only happening in Colorado, and soon in one other state, the action by voters in Colorado in 2012 has led the way for more legalization measures across the country.
According to one report, over 700,000 people were arrested in the United States last year for marijuana related crimes. The number of arrests is disproportional among different races, despite a study that found both black and white Americans consume marijuana at the same rate.
When laws are disproportionately discriminating against one group of people, legalization of a certain action might help reduce unnecessary and disproportionate arrests. If someone is arrested for a marijuana or other drug crime in Colorado, an experienced attorney can work to help them form a defense.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Marijuana Prohibition Began With An Arrest in Denver, Ends Here With Long Lines And High Hopes,” Matt Ferner, Jan. 6, 2013