While I normally write about Georgia law, particularly criminal law, there are some interesting new laws that will take effect this year. Historically, law and culture in the United States changes as more states adopt similar laws. While that may not be as true today as it was pre-World War II, it is still intriguing to look at and evaluate what the other states in our Union are doing. Here are some new laws that will have an impact on their respective states.
COLORADO AND WASHINGTON: Colorado marijuana stores opened January 1 as business owners bring in the nation’s first legal marijuana industry for recreational purposes. Sales in the state of Washington, which also legalized recreational marijuana, are expected to start later in the year. These laws still conflict with federal drug law. However, this federal government has no intention to enforce federal drug law in any state that legalizes marijuana.
MAINE: An ordinance legalizing recreational marijuana went into effect in early December in Portland, Maine. However, this law is only symbolic because the state of Maine has indicated that it will continue to enforce its law criminalizing marijuana possession. I have been to Maine. I would not advise bringing marijuana into Portland with the intention of freely smoking through the streets.
ILLINOIS: The Land of Lincoln becomes the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana in a pilot project with some of the strictest standards in the nation. However, it may take more than a year to actually buy marijuana as separate state agencies draft rules that must be approved by a legislative committee. How many thousands of pages of regulations will these separate Illinois agencies produce before the first marijuana prescription is filled at Walgreens?
WISCONSIN: Municipalities may legalize what are known as “pedal pubs”. These are multiple-person bicycles that carry riders to and from taverns. A driver steers while multiple riders sit at a bar mounted behind him, each with his or her own pedal-and-chain assembly. Wow.
CONNECTICUT: This is the first clearly unconstitutional law passed this year. Firearms that are considered assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines that haven’t been registered with Connecticut authorities will be considered illegal contraband. This Soviet styled gun law went into effect on January 1.
NEW YORK: The People’s Republic of New York’s new gun law, passed shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting, already banned high-capacity magazines and the purchase or sale of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. By April 15, New York will also require registration of weapons now classified as assault weapons by owners who previously bought them legally. Where is the NRA in New York?
Well, I am glad that I do not live in New York or Connecticut. I don’t think that my firearms collection would be acceptable to state authorities in those and the other few police states that we have in our country. On the other hand, it may be interesting to watch a “pedal pub” slowly roll down the streets of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Though, I wouldn’t want to do it in January.