Two decades ago, not a single state in the United States has legalized the recreational use of cannabis. Yet today, more legislators are rallying for its legalization.
Advocacy groups and supporters have also found ways and resources to lobby marijuana law reforms. For many, the question is no longer whether federal states should legalize marijuana — but when.
And according to Gallup research, in 2001, 1 out of 3 American adults showed support for the legalization of cannabis. You can only imagine how that number has doubled over the past years.
Considering these numbers, much debate is still ongoing for its legalization and the issue still remains quite controversial.
Those that are for the legalization have expressed how cannabis can be medically beneficial for people, thus prohibiting it would cause even more harm. On the other hand, opposing arguments would say how cannabis legalization can serve as a gateway for people to abuse it.
But when you take a look back, the efforts done by the supporters and activists have paved a way for leaders to acknowledge the importance of legalizing cannabis.
What Happened Before?
To better understand the cannabis legalization efforts, it’s important to know how it all began.
In 1937, the passing of the Marijuana Transfer Tax Act effectively banned the use of marijuana. The demonization of the cannabis plant at that time contributed to the passage of that law. During the hearings, the people would claim how it turned men to become more violent.
Years later, in the 1970s, the act was deemed unconstitutional but was then replaced with the Controlled Substances Act which created Schedules that ranked substances according to their degree of dangerousness and addiction.
Cannabis was listed under Schedule 1, the most restrictive category in the table. However, in 1996, the state of California approved the medical use of marijuana. A tremendous feat that put a stop to the illicit propaganda against the substance.
However, the opponents of medical marijuana laws argued there’s not enough research to permit its medical use, but the supporters would say how cannabis was popularly used as a medical agent for over 5,000 years prior to the 1937 marijuana law.
Fast forward to the present, you now see a clamor coming from the public to not only legalize the medical use of cannabis but also for recreational purposes.
The Medical Benefits of Cannabis
While many legislators have already acknowledged its medical use, there is still a hefty amount of lawmakers who would argue against this. However, studies indicate that marijuana can be promising in improving the symptoms of those suffering from HIV/AIDS, although that requires a bit more research.
The legalization of cannabis would pave way for more opportunities for researchers to study the extent of the medical efficacy of marijuana.
Reduction of Law Enforcement Costs
Once cannabis is legalized, this would result in saving substantial time for law enforcers to go after cannabis users and dealers. The resources by the justice department and the taxpayer’s money could be used to go after violent and dangerous criminals.
Its legalization would also allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to better regulate the quality of marijuana in the market thus, ensuring the safety of the people who use it.
Milestones of Cannabis Legalization
Back in 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo popularly pushed for the legalization of marijuana, but later on, failed at the last minute due to the parties disagreeing on its tax revenue distribution.
That event was probably one of the nearest milestones to occur in the discourse of cannabis legalization in New York. And while Governor Cuomo failed, he still has not given up.
Nevertheless, it sets an optimistic precedent for other states to come up with their own legalization bills, and when that happens it would provide an avenue for nationwide legalization of cannabis.
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