With the start of 2014, Colorado became the first state since the 1930s to allow the sale of marijuana in retail establishments for recreational use. As a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney who handles a lot of marijuana cases, I am frequently asked when Pennsylvania will legalize cannabis for either medicinal or recreational purposes. Well, my stock answer is both simple and vague: some time in our lifetimes, but no time soon.
When Colorado voters approved a state constitutional amendment repealing Marijuana Prohibition last November, the next step was to draft laws regulating cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol. For practical reasons, Governor John Hickenlooper signed the new marijuana regulations into law on May 28, 2013, despite having been an opponent of the re-legalization of marijuana. I never thought that I would find myself taking issue with any legislation re-legalizing an unjustly demonized plant species, however, I simply cannot agree with a law, which more tightly regulates cannabis than alcohol.