The Legalizing Marijuana Conversation

When it comes to choosing a side with the should cannabis be legalized argument it’s not as simple as many may think. There’s a long list of things that need to be explained and understood before choosing a side. Things like recreational use, medicinal use and decriminalization are often misunderstood. In result people believe marijuana is fully legal in states that adopt medicinal or decriminalization policies. According to the map of marijuana legality currently 32/50 states decriminalized marijuana. In those states a drug that was banned is still prohibited by law but the legal system will no longer prosecute or criminalize someone for carrying under a certain amount. Sadly all 50 states aren’t onboard with this.

United States map of State Cannabis Programs

Dating back to the 1930’s cannabis propaganda was normalized starting with a movie titled “Reefer Madness”. This movie exaggerated the effects of using cannabis and attached dramatic events to the life of users which affected what people thought about the plant. In 2019 Pew Research Center used a survey and revealed that 2/3 of Americans support fully legalizing marijuana. What I would like to see is the results from a survey asking Americans if they fully support releasing all prisoners with marijuana charges under 10 pounds whether it’s distribution or possession related. Because of its medical benefits marijuana was recognized as a lawful drug and listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia in 1850. Recreational use of marijuana spiked in the 1930s during the Prohibition Era. The Marijuana Tax Act was introduced to the general population in 1937 and would eventually disrupt all cannabis use even though users wouldn’t face criminal charges. People wouldn’t face criminal charges for possession until 1970 when the Controlled Substance Act was passed. This act made possession of marijuana a federal crime.

Reefer Madness - Wikipedia

In my opinion cannabis should be fully legalized under federal/state law for medical reasons like treating glaucoma, schizophrenia, cancer patients and more. I also strongly support releasing all prisoners with marijuana charges under 10 pounds whether it’s distribution or possession related. After prisoners are released their records should be expunged as well so they won’t have trouble finding a job. During 2022 dispensaries are opening up all over the United States and the Federal + Local Government is making money from taxing the dispensaries. This makes it extremely hard to understand why some prisoners were and are still receiving harsh sentences for cannabis related charges to a certain extent. In states like Idaho if someone is carrying less than three ounces of marijuana they will face a misdemeanor conviction, up to a year in jail, and a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of more than three ounces may result in a felony conviction, up to five years in jail, and a fine of up to $10,000. Other states like Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have similar policies. In result many people are wrongfully incarcerated and away from their families. Some prisoners were given 10+ years which is extremely unnecessary. The poor judgment of cannabis users and the effort to enforce marijuana laws is a waste of time and money. According to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) states waste approximately $3.61B on enforcing marijuana laws and over 7 Million people got arrested for having cannabis between 2001-2010. Check out more cannabis related stats from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and Pew Research Center below.


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