Well ain’t that a surprise – the ski resort of Breckenridge, Colorado has passed a law that will see the possession and use of cannabis legalised from 1 January 2010. Some folk are already calling Breckenridge “the Amsterdam of the Rockies”, but that isn’t a completely accurate comparison: sale of cannabis remains illegal, so there won’t be any Dutch-style coffee shops opening. But this is still a big deal. “We’re the second town in America after Denver to remove all penalties for marijuana possession and the first in history to remove all penalties for paraphernalia, and that’s cutting-edge on a global basis,” said Brian Vicente. Brian heads the pressure group Sensible Colorado which is pushing for cannabis to be legalised state-wide. Cannabis possession will stay illegal under state and federal law, but there’s no indication that state police or the feds will pursue cannabis convictions in the town. Dope will be banned on the ski slopes, and the Breckenridge police will take stern action against anyone who drives under the influence (though how they’ll be able to determine if someone’s high on pot is anyone’s guess).
This is all good. Legalisation starts with small moves in small towns; then, as politicians in other places see how the experiment works out, they may decide to give it a go too. Eventually it will become apparent to all that cannabis is not the ogre its enemies make it out to be, and then change will come on a national and internaional stage. For now it’s just Breckenridge. But tomorrow it may be your town!
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