Thursday, February 26, 2015

Recreational marijuana now legal in Washington DC, in very restricted, private, non-commercial settings, for adults


Marijuana for recreational use, in private, in small quantities, non-commercially, became legal in the District of Columbia as of 12:01 AM this morning, February 26, 2015, for those over 21. 
  
No money is appropriated to allow the District to implement the law, but the permissive parts of the law would not seem to require federal funding. Nevertheless, at least two GOP members of Congress threatened to have DC Mayor Muriel Bowser arrested and prosecuted for somehow violating the law.  This does not seem to have happened. Pot use is not legal on federal property, about 22-25% of the City.
   
Vox explains the law here.  The Cato Institute also has a similar page here
   
The Libertarian Party has long argued against the “War on Drugs” which started during the Nixon era.  Remember Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no.”  In 1973, New York State passed a particularly draconian law. 
  
The strategy of making recreational marijuana legal, but regulated in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco, seems to make sense. 
   
Marijuana does pose some medical risk to users, somewhat different in nature than the other two legal substances mentioned.  When I was in the Army (late 60s), soldiers would tell me that it heightened their sensory perception and ability to respond to others (usually women).  However, there is evidence that it can interfere with cognitive development if used while the brain is still developing.  And the best evidence is that the brain is at its “summer solstice” between ages of 24 to 30.  If you’re really going to be good at something your whole life (until well into senior years), you need to have your basic cognitive skill set well developed by about age 25.  This goes for anything: music, art, chess, science, computer coding.  (There is a saying among concert pianists that you shouldn’t play Beethoven until age 30!)  Physical strength and endurance in male athletes actually often peaks a little later, about age 28.  Even at 21, one is not quite fully “grown”.  

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