A Marijuana Pioneer in Colorado Waits for Full Legalization

Norton Arbelaez started his medical marijuana business in 2009. Since then, the Denver entrepreneur has seen big changes in the Colorado laws regulating marijuana, but he’s still waiting for full legalization.

“We live in a regulatory world that we helped create,” he said in a segment that aired Tuesday on “AMERICA with Jorge Ramos.” “We understand that we are pioneers, we understand that we are paving the way for the rest of the country to move out of the dark ages.”

Both Colorado and Washington will legalize marijuana in the coming year. But the drug is still considered a dangerous illicit substance by the federal government, which classifies it alongside heroin.

Globally, more nations are considering marijuana policy reform. On Tuesday, Uruguay became the first country in the world to allow its citizens to buy, sell and smoke pot, and countries like Jamaica and Morocco are also reevaluating their laws around the drug.

Arbelaez, the 31-year-old son of Colombian immigrants, says that the program in Colorado should be an example for the rest of the country.

“We have nothing to hide because we are doing it right,” he said. “At the end of the day, it provides better results without the human costs that we see being paid by the poor both here in the U.S. and in Latin America.”