When will people realize that the War on Drugs only makes things worse?
Every time it looks like this country is making progress, a group of drug war zealots is always there to propose laws that reinforce the tyranny of failed, rights trampling policies. One state will take a step towards liberty through legalization or decriminalization, then another state counters the progress and snuffs out the momentum by proposing an escalation in the Drug War that surpasses the lunacy of existing law.
This is exactly what’s happening in the bordering states or Colorado and Wyoming. Of course, as everyone with a pulse knows by now, Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use and commercial sale of cannabis began on January 1, 2014. However, Wyoming has not followed in their neighbor’s footstep. In fact, the authorities in the state appear to be trending in the opposite direction.
In Wyoming, the Joint Judiciary Committee is pushing to increase the size and scope of the War on Drugs in the state. The committee will be sponsoring a bill in 2016 that would make possessing one pound or more of marijuana edibles a felony in the state. The committee is acting to address a perceived problem that more and more Wyoming residents are purchasing marijuana edibles in Colorado and bringing them back into the state.
The bill that Joint Judiciary Committee members decided to sponsor Wednesday afternoon originally specified that possession of edibles weighing over 3 ounces would be a felony. Three ounces of the leafy form of pot can result in felony charges.
But Rep. Nathan Winters, R-Thermopolis, encouraged his colleagues to think about the size of a 3-ounce cookie.
“Three ounces is not that large,” he said.
Lawmakers said they preferred to separate the amount of the psychoactive ingredient THC inside an edible and criminalize only that amount. But there aren’t any certified crime labs in the United States that can analyze the THC content. Therefore, the bill under consideration by lawmakers would criminalize the entire edible, including the butter, sugar, chocolate, flour and other ingredients.
The Wyoming politicians behind this bill sound like they just came out of a screening of reefer madness. Passing a law that makes it a felony to possess a pound of pot brownies is tantamount to enacting legislation that makes it illegal to make more than 10 Jello shots.
The bill has bipartisan support and the major squabble appears to be over the issue of using the weight of the edible to determine the associated charge. So instead of debating the morality of drug laws, the lawmakers are discussing which arbitrary weight make the most “sense” for a new law targeting pot edibles. It truly is a disappointing time to be a resident of Wyoming.
From a purely black market perspective, increasing punishments associated with edibles will obviously increase the risk of transporting the edibles from Colorado to Wyoming. A byproduct of this increase in risk is an increase in cost and likely an increase in associate violence as well.
The moral argument against drug prohibition is clear-cut. Those of us who love liberty have a duty to emphasize a philosophy of individual rights and help others to understand that it is wrong to use violence upon others to force them to live a certain way or for simply possessing a plant, in any form.
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