Today, Washington State
made history by becoming the first state in the union where you can smoke marijuana just to get high. A bunch of folks celebrated that fact by gathering at Seattle's Space Needle for a stroke-of-midnight smoke-out
. "I feel like a kid in a candy store," one of the midnight ravers enthused.
Although the new law prohibits smoking weed in public places, the cops present apparently had the decency not to ruin the party. Meanwhile, in Colorado, a similar law is scheduled to go into effect January 5 of next year. So where does that leave California, which failed to pass a recreational pot law in 2009, and which, 16 years ago, became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical reasons?
Let's just say we could use a toke of the funky stuff right about now, preferably some peppy sativa.
Just ask Joe Grumbine
, who remains in jail more than three weeks after being arrested when he showed up at a Long Beach courthouse for a regularly-scheduled trial conference
. Last year he and Joe Byron
were tried and convicted of selling pot at a pair of Long Beach
dispensaries as well as Garden Grove
's Unit D
collective even as city officials there collected tens of thousands of dollars from other dispensaries to grow and sell marijuana--i.e. pretty much exactly what the two Joes were charged with doing. Thanks to judicial misconduct, those charges were thrown out of court earlier this year
, but prosecutors seem determined to retry the case and send both men to prison.
The bizarre case of the two Joes is just one example of the confusion that reigns over medical marijuana in California. Court cases abound throughout the state--too many to link to here, in fact--and new rulings are being issued all the time. Those rulings, in turn, are constantly being appealed to the California Supreme Court. In other words, what's legal and what's not-so-legal changes by the week, and increasingly looks like a guessing game for fools.
That's not even to mention the fact that the federal government can always step in and squash pot purveyors here in California or, for that matter in Washington State or Colorado.
So what's the solution? Should California get busy on passing a new law that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana? Or would that be a waste of time? If so, how can legalization proponents start a real movement to see marijuana become legal under federal law?