A study made by the Kansas State Attorney shows some discoveries about marijuana, given that the use and arrests related to the substance have increased a lot lately. Many cases of this substance´s possession have been reported; even some edibles were found. It was also found that the pot was coming from Colorado. It has entered every part of Kansas.
Authorities are clearly worried about this, saying that it leads to violence. They remember the Dustin McKinney case, in November 2014, in which they suspect his homicide is related drugs since a lot of marijuana and forty-four thousand dollars were found at his place.
But not everybody has the same point of view. They believe this study says some things that could lead to the full legalization of marijuana. States like Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington D.C. have legalized it, and others like Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and Nevada are on their way of doing it. Kansas has always remained against it.
People who agree on its legalization -like Lisa Sublett, a member of the non-profit patient advocacy group Bleeding Kansas- say that fewer arrests and a decrease on the drugs black market will happen if it is made legal and is regulated.
It could help with the budget deficits Kansas is having right now since it could use its tax income and would not have to increase taxes or make further cuts to the services. If there is a surplus, it could be used to tackle other important areas like medical research, education, and homelessness. People also state that the law could spend its time protecting communities instead of arresting people who are using a substance that may not make more harm than the one alcohol does.
Besides, the study also showed that the drug coming from Colorado has better quality and is less nocive than the one that comes from Mexico. This makes the trend in Kansas to be a pro-legalization one.
A comparison with Colorado
The state of Colorado was the first one to legalize marijuana in 2012 under the Amendment 64. Later, Washington followed it the same year, with Alaska and Oregon among the way. Colorado opened pot shops in January 2014 and also has grown sites and tours. Of course, there is still some control. Public consumption is illegal, which makes it not as prevalent as some people might think. There are some areas where is not allowed to smoke any substance, and the local cities are the ones to choose if they want the shops or not.
Journalist Brooke Staggs went to Colorado with her husband to look for more information about cannabis and how was the environment over there. They entered one of the shops and talked to the workers, asking them about the business. They said that most of the customers (98% to be more precise) are tourists, mainly from Florida, Texas, and Illinois.
Staggs and her husband never saw anybody smoking on the streets, and there were reminders that public consumption was illegal. It is prohibited the possession of any substance in federal land, and the penalty is of 5,000 dollars or six months in jail. There is another rule which states that drug edibles must have the “THC” sticker on the package, showing the main component of the drug. This is to avoid kids from getting this and other people to know what they are consuming.
Colorado also has places for the production of the drug. They are located in the southeastern part, specifically in Pueblo County. This has been a serious business from the start. From its taxes, since last November, college scholarships have been given to some students who cannot afford a higher education.
Although this has seen great results such as that one, not everybody is happy. There is a group called the Citizens for a Healthy Pueblo, who fight and protest to shut down the recreational marijuana business. Their reasons are the same as the ones in Kansas, but they have a hard path. If recreational marijuana is criminalized again, 13,000 jobs will be eliminated, and 3 million dollar taxes will disappear.
Staggs looked from another perspective as well. She met Alex Torres, a 59-year-old man from Denver who has been a medical marijuana patient since 2009. He is in stage 4 of cirrhosis and cannabis helps him stimulating his appetite. Before the legalization of the recreational use, medical use was already permitted. He said that only change a little bit his routine. It had a positive effect, which was that the drug was cheaper. This helped him economically since he depends on his social security service and from selling his artwork and some homemade burritos. Recently, marijuana was banned from his building, and although he still can consume his doses for his health issues, he does not understand why was that necessary.
Locals agree that the ones who consume the most in the state are tourists who go there looking for that. The thing that worries them is that tourists may not respect the rules they have of not smoking publicly and may damage the place. They believe that once it is legal in more places, that won´t be a problem anymore. The changes in Colorado after the 64th Amendment have not been very notorious; everything remains pretty much the same.
Kansas has been fighting ever since Colorado declared itself pro-marijuana, but maybe this is a time when that will change. The majority of the population wants it, and they have facts that can sustain their position.
Source: The Orange County Register.