Just when you thought that Obama being re-elected was the news story of the day, Washinton pot smokers lit up the voting booths with a story of their own. Washington state has become the first state in the nation to make recreational pot smoking legal. Adults over the age of 21 can purchase up to one ounce of marijuna at a time.
With additional votes underway in Colorado and Oregon, a showdown with the federeal government is now imminant.
Just North of the border in British Columbia, we interviewed a man who has been operating a small grow-up from his East Vancouver basement for the past 11 years. “This is not good news at all for BC Pot growers” he said as he puffed away on his joint. He went on to estimate that over 50% of all the marijuana that he grows is sold to Americans, many of which are from Washington.
The BC Real Estate Association has expressed concerns as well that this new law could have a negative although somewhat limited effect on single detached home prices in the lower mainland. Drug dealers and pot growers are known to reinvest their cash in purchasing real estate. According to an RCMP report in 2008, there are an estimated 20,000 grow-ops operating in BC. With the new legalization that could potentially sweep across more states including Oregon and Colorado, the market for these cash businesses could be drying up quickly.
Estimates have shown that taxing marijuna consumption in Washington state could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars per year; pass this on a federal level and you are talking in the billions. With the American economy still reeling reeling from the effects of the 2008 financial collapse and unemployment hovering near 8%, perhaps it won’t be too long before we see Obama relaxing his stance on marijunana.