At the toke of midnight, marijuana became legal for recreational use in Washington State on Thursday. Pot users were nothing but quick to hit the pipe as a group of stoked smokers gathered at the base of the Space Needle in Seattle to send up clouds of celebratory smoke.
Most of those people were happy. NPR reported some of them even cried in happiness. One woman, 67-year-old Pat Edmonson, told NBC as she lit up that, “It’s too good to be just for the young.”
Others weren’t quite as impressed with the new freedom, including one man who was convinced nothing fundamental would change:
Howard C. Samuels -- the founder and CEO of The Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles that costs between $40,000 and $50,000 per anti-pot treatment -- was just plain upset.
“It makes me sick to my stomach,” Samuels told CNN. “Today I’ve got five people in treatment who have been addicted to pot for five years and their lives are ruined. All they do is smoke pot. It makes me sick that now people are going to be told that this drug is legal and its safe.”
Elsewhere on CNN, an op-ed penned by Roger A. Roffman examines the national effect of marijuana’s acceptance in the U.S.
“For the first time in a very long time, the well-intended but failed criminal penalties to protect public health and safety will be set aside. Adults who choose to use marijuana and obtain it through legal outlets will no longer be faced with the threat of criminal sanctions. People of color will no longer face the egregious inequities in how marijuana criminal penalties are imposed,” Roffman wrote in “The End of the War on Marijuana.”
And while Roffman heralded the end of the war on pot, Keegan Hamilton wrote a piece for The Atlantic that took a bigger look at the picture called “Why Legalizing Pot Won't Curb the Drug War.”
Hamilton wrote: “The only way cartels will be seriously affected by the new pot laws, according to the Mexican Center for Competitiveness, is if Washington and Colorado's legal weed spreads to parts of the country more reliant on Mexican grass. These states include the more conservative ones that are unlikely to legalize marijuana anytime soon.”
And comedian Rob Delaney took the opportunity to make a fiscal cliff joke:
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