Tomorrow morning, Jan. 1, 2014, retail marijuana shops will open here in Colorado.
Voters approved the legalization of possession and sale of marijuana in November 2012 by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent.
In a separate ballot measure in November 2013, voters approved a 25 percent tax on recreational marijuana.
There is little doubt that the 2012 ballot measure helped President Obama win Colorado, though he may very well have done so without it.
Marijuana legalization efforts, in my view, represent a great opportunity for progressive candidates in coming years.
The maps tell the story below the fold.
This is not surprising.
But the issue of marijuana legalization also gave Republicans a severe wedgie in places like conservative Weld County.
And it likely boosted turnout among liberal leaning younger voters.
I would assert that that getting ballot measures for legalization of marijuana in select states in 2014 and 2016 would be a big help to Democratic Party candidates.
It should be a high priority.
The issue will deeply split the Republican Party.
Aside from Rand Paul it is hard to envision any other presidential contender being ready to accept legalization in 2016, for instance.
Heck, if it could get on the ballot in Texas it would shake things up dramatically.
And how about this scenario for 2016:
A Democratic presidential nominee for legalization.
And a Republican nominee for continued prohibition.
Let’s bring this debate on!
As for Colorado, it's going to be something of a yawner.
Marijuana is already widely available of course and already legal to possess and grow.
The opening of the retail shops certainly is a milestone.
Communities across the state still have the option to ban sales, though they cannot ban possession by adults over 21 and the right to grow up to six plants.
Marijuana legalization is already no big deal up here in Colorado.
But it drives the Republican church ladies crazy!
Bring it on!