What part of the legacy of the Volstead Act do they not understand?
Nebraska and Oklahoma complain that neighboring Colorado's legalization of pot has overflowed into their states as their residents cross the border to buy legally regulated marijuana and then bring it home to enjoy. Police and prosecutors in the two states say they have seen a huge spike in pot usage and arrests since Colorado legalized recreational use.
I believe them. What pot smoker in his or her right mind would not consider crossing the state line to safely and confidently buy a government-regulated drug rather than a black-market version, despite whatever good experience they might have had with their illegal dealer? Cross-border buying and usage are up? Well, yeah. They ought to be. Customers aren't dumb. Neither are states that seize the opportunity to tax and regulate pot for the sake of the public treasury and the public interest.
The only dumb actors in this picture are states like Nebraska and Oklahoma that cower in the shelter of outmoded convention and then squeal in pain when their residents cross the border to embrace reality. In the view of these addled states, Colorado has some damn nerve thumbing its nose at written federal law outlawing marijuana. From a reality-based view, though, Nebraska and Oklahoma are dunces to expect other states to kowtow to unenforceable policies that the feds have made it clear they are no longer eager to police.
We learned all of this nearly 100 years ago when Prohibition, AKA the federal Volstead Act and its legions of armed agents, strove vainly to enforce criminalization of alcohol before finally facing reality. Nebraska and Oklahoma choose to repeat history by making a protest camp at the base of the crumbling dam. They hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will intervene on their behalf. It will be interesting to see the reaction of a Supreme Court majority caught between its claim of free-market liberty and its leaning toward regressive social policy.
But whether in the short or the long run, the outcome will be the same. Drink up. I mean, light up.