The conversation about decriminalization and legalization of cannabis continues to flourish in many places of the world. The increased acceptance of the “drug” can be associated with the increase in the prevalence of states and countries to move toward decriminalization and the ever-mounting evidence of its use in treating cancer.
Portugal, Uruguay, Colorado, Washing and others, have all seen relative success with the move. The discussion about drug crimes and their related incarceration rates has also been fueling a world-wide effort toward prison reform. With respectable media outlets such as the New York Times and USA Today even pointing out the systemic flaws and suggesting needed prison reform.
Although there have been strong efforts in Colorado and Washington to move towards legalization, many still remain incarcerated for cannabis-related drug crimes which were committed throughout the years before the recent passage of the recent decriminalizing legislation. With the success toward legalization, anti-cannabis advocates and groups have firmly pushed back.
Recently, House Republicans issued a bill, H.R. 4138 , in an effort to initiate a lawsuit aimed at the President for not having arrested people for crimes related to cannabis. Numerous elected representatives have criticized Obama for his cherry-picked and selective enforcement of the Controlled Substance Act.
Twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Colorado and Washington trail-blazed the fight to have legalized recreational marijuana. Also, more than a dozen other states are also actively pursuing legalization in some form over the next several years, and several polls also demonstrate that the majority of U.S. Americans want marijuana to be legalized.
With the United States having one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, it’s time to consider a real effort toward wide-scale decarceration, following the recent example of countries like Italy. This entails forgiving, and letting go of those prisoners who are being held for committing victimless crimes.
The public is clearly behind a move toward decriminalization, it’s time for the elected representatives to stand-up for the people who they represent. Cannabis is not only less dangerous than alcohol, it is also shown to be useful in treating cancer based on at least 123 studies.
The only ones who seem to remain ardently against an effort toward decriminalization are those who profit from criminalization. This includes the pharmaceutical industry and police officers, who benefit through asset forfeiture laws (which help to bring in millions for their department.) Also, doctors and those within the medical field who would prefer that citizens instead purchase their pharmaceutical pills, which often have unclear side effects.