I currently live in one of the two states that exercise full control on liquor. This means that my state, Pennsylvania, along with Utah, controls the sale and distribution of liquor and wine through state stores, as opposed to private liquor stores. In other words, if you want a bottle of Jack or Shiraz you must purchase it directly from the state. Even beer must be purchased from an authorized distributor by the case, or from a restaraunt in volumes of less than a case. There are no beer isles in our grocery stores, and no 40s in our gas stations. Since PA is the largest retailer of liquor and wines in the world, generally the prices in PA are cheaper than anywhere around. But if there is a product that you want that the state does not sell, you are either tough out of luck, or you must commit the crime of illegally importing the product across state lines into Pennsylvania. It is even illegal to possess the unoffered liquor in the state if hefty dues are not paid to bring it in, and only licensed importers are allowed to do so. (And god help you if you choose to sell these products)
Here in PA we have a term for this: border bleed. Profits are lost at the borders, and illegal activity of importing unregistered liquor takes place. So how does this relate to marijuana legalization? See me past the squiggle.
The crimes of punishment for border bleed as far as the consumer are few and far between. There are not inspections at borders checking for illegl liquors of pasenger cars, and unless you try to sell it, the chances of getting caught during consumption are incredibly small. In fact it is one of the least pursued statutes in Pennsylvania. Enforcement officers know that it goes on in large detail, but enforcement on large scale would be nearly impossible, so while the law is on the books, it is rarely enforced.
Which brings us to Marijuana. If Washington and Colorado are able to go forward with implementation of legalization, we will see a border bleed unprecedented. Geographically the states surrounding Washington and Colorado include Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. By two states legalizing, you have the potential of 9 states being in direct contact with border bleed. These 9 additional states will have the decision of heavily prosecuting their citizens, or decriminalizing possession. Additional states such as Oregon, California, Nevada, New York, and Massachusettes are considering full legalization as well, pending the outcome of Washington and Colorado.
The effect of border bleed if those additional states legalize areas follows. Nevada,and Oregon affect Idaho and Utah, giving those very red states TWO border bleed potentials, whereas NY and Massachusettes now give the border bleed potential to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
That brings the potential of border bleed affected states to 20. So very realistically, within two years time, we could see 40% of this great nation either fully legalized, decriminalized, or pressured to due so from citizenry or financial reasons as states that are affected by border bleed will have to choose whether to spend the additional money for enforcement, or to join in and collect taxes on marijuana.
Throw in one other state in the south, say Rand Paul's home state of Kentucky, and you bring that total to 28 direct border bleeds, with every other state within hours driving distance, and border bleed could bring full nationwide legalization (or an atmosphere where no prosecution or enforcement takes place, essentially making it legal everywhere) within the decade, potentially even before President Obama leaves office.
8:14 AM PT: As Sceptical Observer noted in the comments, there is currently a case pending with the DC curcuit courts regarding rescheduling of marijuana to schedule 2. This is the first time the courts have heard evidence supporting medical beneficial use in over 20 years, and as we know, science has shown much progress in the past two decades for the medical use of Marijuana. The opinion is due in early december, just in time for the legalization laws in Washington and Colorado to take place. Should the courts decide to reschedule, there will be no conflict with the Department of Justice over legalization, as states are able to determine how to deal with schedule 2 drugs.
8:35 AM PT: This is my second diary to make community spotlight. Thank you all!
10:06 AM PT: Community spotlight and now Rec list. Thanks again Wonderful community!