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Marijuana won on Election Day

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Be careful what you wish for, the saying goes. As I cheer the ongoing inroads for legalization and decriminalization of recreational and medical marijuana (here is why), I have found myself earlier than anticipated explaining to my ten-year-old son that funky smell we sometimes notice while walking or driving down the streets of our nation’s capital and Maryland (which makes possession of under ten grams only a civil offense). I am willing to pay that explanatory price for eroding the anti-marijuana laws.

Virginia remains a dinosaur with marijuana laws, other than to make room for marijuana distribution and possession with intent to distribute to be a misdemeanor rather than a felony when one-half ounce or less is involved or for larger amounts when only provided as an accommodation.

With my home county of Fairfax — and in the other Maryland and D.C. bordering counties of Arlington and Alexandria — people coming into Virginia need to be careful not to accidentally bring marijuana into Virginia. They will not get reciprocity in Virginia for their states’ more liberal marijuana laws.

As more states’ laws and criminal enforcement loosen their grips on marijuana, the federal government, Virginia government and other governments that have not followed suit will see that the sky will not fall by legalizing marijuana.

On Election Day 2016, four states’ marijuana legalization referendums passed, in Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California. Election Day doubled the number of states with legalized recreational marijuana to eight, plus Washington, D.C. Arizona’s marijuana legalization referendum failed.

Medical marijuana initiatives passed in Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota. Montana expanded its medical marijuana laws. The medical marijuana map is growing nicely, as shown here.

Thanks deeply to the marijuana activists who have worked tirelessly over the decades — often in the face of great and discouraging hurdles — to reverse the laws criminalizing marijuana, and to make marijuana legal for medicinal use.

Tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol is taxed and regulated for recreational use. Make marijuana legal as medicine.