Legalizing marijuana is rushed and flawed, but waiting longer won't make it better

If it were up to me, we’d be decriminalizing rather than legalizing marijuana. But if we’re going to make the product completely legal and sell it in retail stores, we might as well start doing it this summer.

Many valid concerns are being raised about rushing into legalization, and the deadline was set for mostly political reasons. But we won’t be flipping a switch this summer from nobody consuming marijuana to the product being ubiquitous. No matter when legalization is official, there will be a transition to new rules and new dynamics. Not every issue has to be resolved before a specific date; some of them can be worked on after the fact. In fact, the government could have eased the transition by not allowing individuals to grow their own pot.

Ultimately, by proceeding with legalization this summer, we’ll finally put an end to a long limbo period during which illegal shops were opened and then closed and some users were left to wonder whether they could still get a criminal record for possession. The world won’t change when marijuana is legalized. It’s probably time to get on with it.

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