As Colorado’s six month progress report on its legalized pot economy confronted naysayers with news of plummeting crime, the second state to open itself to recreational cannabis sales made headlines of its own.
Last Tuesday, marijuana was officially introduced into the above ground market in Washington state, sealing another victory in efforts to nullify unconstitutional federal prohibition.
Contrary to what pessimists might have predicted, civilization did not collapse in the Evergreen State. The feds didn’t roll tanks through downtown Seattle to shut down federally prohibited marijuana sales. DEA agents didn’t execute mass raids and arrest hundreds of pot smokers. What did happen was peaceful Washingtonians conducted business buying and selling weed in defiance of federal law.
The federal government prohibits marijuana for any use, but lacks any constitutional authority for the ban. Doubt this? As yourself why it required a constitutional amendment to institute a similar national ban on alcohol. But states and localities across the U.S. have pushed back against the ban, legalizing marijuana for medical use – or in the case of Washington and Colorado, recreational purposes as well. Authorizing locally what the feds attempt to prohibit nationally creates an effective nullification of unconstitutional federal prohibition on marijuana businesses. The federal law has essentially become unenforceable.
Washington’s entry into the world of legalized marijuana sales last week was another major win for nullification and another nail in the coffin for federal prohibition. The genie is out of the bottle and the feds will never stuff her back in.
One shop in Seattle and five more throughout the state got things rolling. Nineteen more retail licenses have been granted, but because Washington law protects only product grown by certified farmers, there was a shortage of supply. There are some 2,600 grower applicants but only 80 approved thus far.
Marijuana and its unconstitutional federal prohibition have illustrated the utility of nullification for years. Legalized medical marijuana or decriminalized simple possession has reached about half all states, red and blue alike – talk about a purple haze! (Sorry.) But what happened in Washington last week is still huge news.
As the second state to regulate market distribution of the forbidden plant in the US, Washington brings about a “more perfect Union.” After all, the Constitution was created so that states, not the federal government, would work together to move America forward.
Colorado is no longer an outlier.
What will be next?
Alaska and Oregon are expected to pass similar measures this November. Most activists are gunning for 2016. So far the idea of nullifying the feds to such a degree of full legalization has been undefeated. Could the first victorious nationwide nullification effort be based on a plant? It seems inevitable.