The state of Washington recently legalized marijuana. The Washington State Liquor Control Board is responsible for implementing regulations by this December. Medbox has offered to help the state with implementation by installing inventory management systems and robotic dispensaries that comply with both present and future regulations.
The medicinal use of marijuana is already legal in a number of places. It is distributed by means of marijuana vending machines which require patients to scan their fingerprints to validate their online medical prescriptions. The manufacturer, Medbox is currently working on adapting this device for anticipated recreational pot users in the near future.
From a practical standpoint, Washington must define recreational use and provide reasonable quantity limits for consumers, as well as collect applicable state and federal taxes. If implemented with due care, legalization is potentially a huge revenue source for the state.
No matter what state law says, employers will have an important say in defining just what constitutes reasonable usage in the workplace. Standard urine tests can detect occasional marijuana usage within a two to seven day window. Regular marijuana users can be detected for up to a month, and heavy pot users can be detected for up to three months. Saliva tests detect marijuana usage up to one day, while hair tests can determine usage up to three months.
Municipalities will need to define legal usage of pot for a whole variety of critical services like police, fire, ambulance workers, emergency room personnel, air traffic controllers, pilots, subway conductors, taxis and the myriad of personal services in which the providers are responsible for the safety of the individual members they serve.
Surprisingly, pot is not a primary cause of highway fatalities. Although the states could consider requiring pot users to display a pot plant insignia on their license plates to provide information for other drivers and police. In addition, local criminal codes must be amended to reflect penalties for excessive usage of pot.
Public school teachers and other school employees are important strategic constituencies for whom clear regulations limiting pot usage (similar to those for alcohol, tobacco and firearms) will also be needed. Politicians are still thinking about alternative ways to restrict guns in order to enhance the public safety.
Society is already on the road to implementing fully the legalization of pot for both medicinal and recreation purposes. Undoubtedly, the road will be bumpy, but the stakes are high; tax revenues from pot sales could be a huge boom for state tax collections everywhere. Only time will tell whether or not legalization can evolve in an orderly fashion while still protecting the public from harm.