By Vasili Arvanitidis
- The state is now saving millions of dollars in law enforcement resources that were previously used to enforce marijuana laws.
- Violent crime has decreased in Washington and other crime rates have remained stable since the passage of I-502.
- Washington has collected nearly $83 million in marijuana tax revenues. These revenues are funding substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, youth and adult drug education, community health care services, and academic research and evaluation on the effects of marijuana legalization in the state.
- The number of traffic fatalities remained stable in the first year that adult possession was legalized.
- Youth marijuana use has not increased since the passage of I-502.
“Marijuana prohibition has been a costly failure—to individuals, communities, and the entire country,” says Tamar Todd, Director of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance. “Washington should be praised for developing a smarter, more responsible approach to marijuana.”[i]
Where Washington State and Colorado significantly differ is in their approach to Canna Tourism and citizen consumption in general. The key problem: cannabis is legal in Washington State, but not to consume anywhere but a private residence. NO commercial enterprise is permitted to market towards or allow the consumption of cannabis in any way.
“Seattle’s restrictions on pot tourism are yet another unintended side effect of the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (SB 5052), which specifically prohibits cannabis consumption in any business”.[ii]
As the article points out, the simple truth is: “Seattle is leaving a whole lot of cash on the table”. [iii]
Firstly, as citizens we should have the opportunity to consume a “legal” substance in designated areas designed for that purpose, just like you consume alcohol in bars, we as citizens should not be shunned to only consume cannabis in the privacy of our homes. If we have bars for serving alcohol, we certainly should have the opportunity to have “bars” that are for cannabis or ideally, the combination of the two.
That in itself would increase CannaTourism dramatically, just like people used to go to Amsterdam for the simple pleasure of being able to consume in coffee shops or bars.
In Seattle, our taxes are paying for an enormous project to take down the viaduct and put it underground. The main benefit? Waterfront TOURISM. Seattle tax payers are spending BILLIONS to increase tourism and create a beautiful water front. While missing the opportunities to create an entirely new tourism market for ourselves at NO COST to tax payers, only benefits in the form of tourism bringing jobs, income and most importantly TAXES.
The solution is simple, provide opportunities for Washington State businesses to apply for a “cannabis” license, in the same way they would apply for a “liquor” license.
Cannabis is legal in Washington State, so do we want to push consumers out to the street where they are a public nuisance? Or put them in designated areas, and build more schools with the taxes?
General Manager of the Inn at the Market states: “If we smell marijuana in the hallway, we will ask the guest to stop smoking. We have to do that every once in a while. We won’t call the cops. But if someone’s eating an edible cookie in their room, that’s their business.”[iv]
So, we can’t tell you to consume in public because that would be illegal, but we can tell you that one of vaporization’s key benefits is DISCRETION.
With everyone and their vaporizers now a days, who knows what’s inside? And why should they be treated differently? #justvape