Initiative 502 is passed, and recreational marijuana use is legal in our state, and soon retail sales, but a law is only words on paper. Those can change overnight. Attitudes, habits, prejudice and self-indulgence alter much more slowly. For people who have tried to make abiding by the law a lifetime habit, the thought of people lining up at the neighborhood pot store is unsettling. For many people who will patronize the soon-to-arrive marijuana retailers, it just means buying from a different source.
We the law-abiding have to remember that a lot of marijuana is sold whether it is legal or not, and whether the store is on the corner or out of sight. If we are disgusted it isn’t going to make much difference. What can make a difference is putting legal marijuana in competition with illegal, putting licensed sellers in competition with the black market. That’s real, and it is going to happen. To what extent and how quickly the illegal market share declines depends on organization and availability. That is an issue. The ability of cities and counties to shun the legal marijuana business becomes an issue as a result.