By legalising marijuana, Colorado is blazing a welcome trail

Hopefully such reform will shake our own political establishment out of its complacent reliance on a failing policy of prohibition

Share

This newspaper has long campaigned against Britain’s hidebound drugs laws, which we believe are counterproductive, repressive and unnecessary. Regrettably, our own politicians have not seen fit to question, let alone revise, their opinions on this matter, but it is good to see a bolder approach being tried out on the other side of the pond. In Colorado, the first shops selling marijuana for recreational use opened yesterday.

Business on “Green Wednesday”, as it has been nicknamed, was expected to be brisk in the Rocky Mountain state, not least because no other US state has followed in its footsteps, although Washington is expected to do so this year. Shops in Denver were busy rolling huge numbers of joints in preparation for a surge of demand from out-of-state visitors as well as locals.

It will be interesting to see whether the decriminalisation of the sale of marijuana leads to a local collapse in Colorado of civilised values, as well as to an upsurge in drug use and drug crime. Critics of the reform insist that this will be the case, but we trust that the counter-argument of the state authorities will be vindicated, namely that the smugglers and cartels will now lose a valuable slice of their trade, and start to shrink in size and influence.

The drug barons will not disappear, of course, because other drugs remain illegal, even in liberal Colorado. But one answer to that dilemma is to go further and extend decriminalisation, leaving the traders with less and less room for manoeuvre.

In the meantime, we hope that the enlightened and experimental policies pursued in Colorado and Washington, as well as in Uruguay in Latin America, will start to shake our own political establishment out of its complacent reliance on a policy based on prohibitions pure and simple. It is absurd that we continue with a drugs strategy that ministers have freely admitted does not work but to which – apparently – there is no alternative. The state founded by pioneers has shown that an alternative does exist. Let’s hope their pioneering spirit rubs off on us.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) pictured shaking hands with Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi on 25 March 2004.  

There's nothing wrong with Labour’s modernisers except how outdated they look

Mark Steel
 

Any chance the other parties will run their election campaigns without any deceit or nastiness?

Nigel Farage
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee