[T]he addiction, safety, and health costs associated with alcohol use aren’t caused by the fact that people can legally buy and sell the stuff. Money changing hands for a bottle of clearly labeled, cleanly manufactured gin in a well-lit store with regular hours is by far the most wholesome part of the whole life-cycle of booze.
By taking the money out of legal weed in D.C., the city will not somehow elevate the exchange of marijuana to a higher, more altruistic plane. Instead, it will force users and providers to continue to operate outside the law and live with dangerous uncertainty about what they’re buying, who they’re buying it from, and what happens if the deal goes bad.
Claire Groden warns federal employees against toking up:
[U]nlike private employees, federal employees in every state remain subject to Ronald Reagan’s 1986 “drug-free federal workplace” executive order, which banned employees from using illegal drugs on- or off-duty. In the wake of legalization out West, federal employers like the USDA and Colorado National Park Service issued staff-wide memos reminding workers that all pot use is considered unacceptable. Marijuana use also remains illegal on federal property, and in D.C., that means legalization won’t touch places like the National Mall and Rock Creek Park, a wooded recreational area that covers a large part of the city’s northwestern quadrant. Plus, many of the people who work in D.C. during the day don’t actually live in the district, but in Virginia and Maryland, where pot remains illegal. D.C. marijuana enthusiasts, who filled up a city bar Tuesday night to celebrate (including a rendition of “Blessed Ganja Herb”), might be cheering too early: Until federal law changes, there’s still a large chunk of their fellow D.C. residents who are left out of the high times.
Regardless, Christopher Ingraham sees major momentum for the legalization movement:
The symbolic importance of legalized marijuana in the nation’s capital, home to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the command center of the so-called “war on drugs,” is not lost on anyone. But the biggest effects of last night’s votes may be felt internationally. When Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012, they created political space for other nations to experiment with drug reform.