New recreational marijuana legalization measures in Washington and Colorado both set the age limit at 21 years old. The voting age is 18 and some of the voters who said yes to I-502 and Amendment 64 were younger than 21, but they are left out in the cold, for now.
And while it does seem unfair that those 18 to 21 can vote and die in a war but cannot legally posses marijuana, 21 is the age limit that will come with marijuana legalization in every state, with few exceptions, if any.
The same arguments are used when it comes to alcohol, and although marijuana is much safer than alcohol, the age limit of 21 is much more practical and will result in more votes from those over 21. And that is why most, if not all, of the big marijuana law reform organizations support an age limit of 21.
“[MPP]will not be working to lower the age limit in Colorado or any other state that passes similar legislation including a 21 age limit,” said Mason Tvert, one of the main backers of Amendment 64 and now the spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project.
Allen St. Pierre of NORML said that a lower age limit is not a concern for his group. “NORML’s board of directors supports legal access to cannabis to be similar to that of alcohol,” he said. “If society deems 18 years old the age of ‘consent,’ fine. If society wants to stick with 21 years of age, fine with us too.”
Even though marijuana is much safer than alcohol, advocates must deal with the stigma that still surrounds much of the cannabis culture. 75 years of propaganda is a tough thing to overcome and the path of least resistance dictates that legalization come with an age limit of 21 instead of 18.
It is unfair, but so are many things in life and they must all be dealt with as they come.