My latest column for The Daily Beast looks at pot legalization developments in Colorado and Washington state. Voters in both places overwhelmingly approved recreational use of marijuana last year. In January, both states will implement insanely high taxes on weed and, in Colorado at least, all manner of bans on which counties and cities can sell pot.
The spirit behind the legalization efforts in both states was that marijuana should be treated in a "manner similar to alcohol."
Unfortunately, it's starting to look like both states are going to treat pot in a manner similar to alcohol during Prohibition. Not only are pot taxes likely to be sky high, various sorts of restrictions on pot shops may well make it easier to buy, sell, and use black-market marijuana rather than the legal variety. That's a bummer all around: States and municipalities will collect less revenue than expected, law-abiding residents will effectively be denied access to pot, and the crime, corruption, and violence that inevitably surrounds black markets will continue apace.