Marijuana Legalizing States versus Non-marijuana Legalizing States
Much ado has been made over the legality of cannabis over the last few decades. It’s funny, when you think about it; cannabis is one of the first crops ever produced. It’s been around since the pre-Neolithic period, and Herodotus recorded those cool-cat Scythians using cannabis for its medicinal and psychoactive purposes in about 400 BC
In America, from 1631 to the early 1880s, hemp was even used as currency for trading goods and services. The prohibition of marijuana is relatively recent, with roots in the 1900s, after the Mexican Revolution drove more people from Mexico, trying to escape those tumultuous times, into the United States.
Public opinion of marijuana has evolved and gone through cycles since then. Interest in marijuana as a medicinal drug was rekindled in the 1980s to the 1990s, with movements like the Compassionate Use Act coming into play. The first waves of decriminalization of the drug come as early as 1973 to 1978 in states like Oregon, Alaska, Maine, Colorado, Nebraska, New York, and California. And then, in 2012, cannabis became fully legal for recreational and medical use in Washington and Colorado.
These days, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in nine states and decriminalized in thirteen (though it’s still illegal on a federal level). Now, you may ask, what is the difference between legalization and decriminalization?
Some people are more for decriminalization than they are for legalization, and in this article, you will have an idea why that is, and what the differences between the two are.
Legalization is pretty simple. It’s the total abolishment of laws against marijuana, recreational or otherwise. Legalization means that the government can now regulate and tax marijuana use and production.
Another argument for legalization is that it’s actually really good for the economy. It opens up whole new avenues for business people and creates thousands of jobs for people all across the economic board.
Another argument for the legalization of cannabis is that it takes the production and distribution out of the hands of organized criminals. The cartels take 60 percent of their profits from marijuana, and those guys kill thousands of people every year.
For these reasons and others besides, cannabis is now legal in Alaska (and a single household is two adults over twenty-one is allowed twelve plants; businesses with commercial licenses are given no limit), California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Washington, DC.
A lot more states have legalized the use of medical marijuana but have only decriminalized recreational use. States that have decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana include Illinois, Minnesota, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, etc. Most people see decriminalization of recreational marijuana as ultimately a step toward legalization, though many argue decriminalization instead of legalization full stop.
People who argue decriminalization generally see decriminalization as harm reduction. In this way, police are freed up to pursue more serious infractions and cases. At the same time, people aren’t given conflicting messages about drug use (in this case, marijuana), like the messages surrounding tobacco and alcohol (both of which are legal, even though there are many campaigns warning against the harmful effects of tobacco and overconsumption of alcohol).
The debate between decriminalization and legalization is complicated and multifaceted, though it seems that the general consensus that decriminalization is a step in the right direction.
While it’s widely accepted that marijuana has many therapeutic benefits, places like Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska (though recreational use has been decriminalized here), and South Dakota still haven’t legalized the use of medical marijuana. In such where cannabis is illegal, full stop, many people lose their jobs over even medical marijuana use. While detox kits and products like dehydrated urine are available on the market for these people to pass workplace drug testing, these drug tests are not exactly a positive message to people suffering from invisible illnesses like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, many of whom greatly benefit from medical marijuana.