A few feet over the Colorado border on I-25 in Wyoming, sits some large fireworks stores. Not many Wyoming citizens reside there, so these shops are here because they sell millions of fireworks to more-populated Colorado, where fireworks are illegal.
Does Colorado’s Attorney General and our law enforcement establishment wag their fingers at Wyoming for its state fireworks laws, or tattletale to the Federal Government for help in eradicating illegal explosives entering our state? Of course not. Wyoming is entitled to its own laws.
And fireworks are actually dangerous. They can start a forest fire, take off a person’s hand, or even kill a child. Marijuana has never done any of the above.
Yet recently, the Kansas Prohibition-Industrial Complex whined that Kansans now choose Colorado cannabis, implying that this is somehow Colorado’s problem. Cannabist
Kansas is the problem.
To be more precise, Kansas people aren’t the problem. Antiquated Kansas laws are the problem.
In 2012, Colorado voters held a reasoned debate over Amendment 64, which sought to reform Marijuana Prohibition and treat marijuana like alcohol, produced and sold by regulated legal businesses, or home-grown by law-abiding adults for personal consumption. Colorado voters heard the doom-and-gloom of Prohibitionists who sought “business as usual,” but we wisely charted a course towards personal freedom. After all, cannabis is just a plant, created by God.
In the years following the election of 2012, Colorado has developed a stable, regulated cannabis industry that creates tens of thousands of good jobs, revitalizes our real estate and business sectors, and generates millions in revenue. We have developed varieties that lead the world in quality and selection. We are reducing the misuse of our crowded courts which wasted time and talent to prosecute cannabis “crimes.” (Although even Colorado’s police, prosecutors, and judges occasionally still behave as though Amendment 64 does not exist.) Massive 2016 raids by Colorado State AG.
Does some of Colorado’s top cash crop flow across borders where demand is just as high, but supply or quality is lower? Of course it does, just like Wyoming’s fireworks. This is natural, inevitable, and utterly unstoppable. You might as well try to pass a law prohibiting the wind from blowing across the Colorado/Kansas border.
Do we in Colorado lose one second of sleep about cannabis that finds its way to Kansas, or anywhere else for that matter? Nope.
Sorry, not sorry.
During Alcohol Prohibition, truckloads of Canadian or Mexican spirits flowed into the United States. That wasn’t the fault of Canada nor Mexico. And it wasn’t Canada’s nor Mexico’s problem. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Prohibition... goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes... A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”
Alcohol Prohibition sought to achieve the impossible: eradicate a thousands-year old substance that was widely demanded by millions of people. Instead, Prohibition failed to even meaningfully reduce U.S. rate of alcohol consumption, but did create a massive organized crime underworld. Somebody had to get the alcohol to the thirsty millions, and if alcohol is outlawed, only outlaws sell it. After a few years of Prohibition insanity, America wisely rejected this economic illiteracy, but the damage was done.
Now, Kansas seeks to continue Marijuana Prohibition. Colorado seeks to end it. Colorado’s Amendment 64 is locked into our State Constitution, and voter support for it has actually increased from 2012 because we see its benefits. Colorado will never turn back the clock. And the rest of the U.S., and the world, moves toward freedom and away from Marijuana Prohibition.
So what is the answer? Kansas should join the tide of history, stay true to its common-sense roots, and jettison the least effective governmental policy in history: prohibition. Colorado is happy to help Kansas out.
Robert J. Corry, Jr. is a Denver lawyer who co-authored and represented Amendment 64’s campaign.
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