Last night was a historic moment
for the drug policy reform movement: two
They are not just the first
For outside observers looking at these developments, the main concern with US legalisation will always be over-commercialisation, and a policy model driven more by profit-seeking and the interests of private enterprise than public health and wellbeing. It is vital that if we are going to “regulate marijuana like alcohol” (as the slogan for these ballot initiatives has argued), then we must learn from the mistakes made with inadequate alcohol (and also tobacco) regulation in the past. But done right, it is clear that legal regulation will greatly reduce social and health harms. Having secured their place in the history books as the first places anywhere to break with the global prohibitionist regime, Colorado and Washington now have a responsibility to do it right, and to show the world that legally regulating drugs is a safe, logical and vitally important step to take.