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Cannabis Legalization

War on Marijuana: Is it Justified?

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War on Drugs and Marijuana

Medical marijuana may be legal in many places across the globe, but the fact remains that wars on marijuana – and drugs, in general – are still being waged in other parts of the world. History.com defines ‘war on drugs’ as an initiative led by governments seeking to eliminate the illicit use, distribution and trade of drugs by implementing increased penalties. Cannabis is considered as an illegal substance by many governments.

Those who have watched Netflix’s Narcos telling the life of Pablo Escobar and Colombia’s war on drugs know how bloody this campaign can be. With such a complicated topic to which millions of deaths have been attributed, you may be prompted to ask: is the war drugs justified?

In attempting to answer the question, it is important to take time to research and read up on various stories and reports related to this topic. Read on to know more about this policy implemented in many parts of the world.

 

A Background on the War on Marijuana

Here’s a brief background to give you an idea about the different drug war campaigns across the world:

  • In the United States

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was enacted in the United States, imposing a tax on the sale of cannabis. However, President Nixon repealed this act and placed marijuana in the list of Schedule I drugs along with heroin, LSD and ecstasy. Schedule I substances are those with high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S. and without accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

While 33 states along with Washington, D.C. have legalized medical marijuana, it is still illegal on the federal level. In fact, marijuana remains to be a Schedule I drug until today. Some would say that the U.S. war on marijuana continues, especially as SWAT raids against marijuana dealers (big- and small-time) have resulted in deaths of suspects and officers alike. There are cases in which suspects were unintentionally and intentionally killed in custody.

Generally, the U.S. drug war has led the country to spend $47+ billion annually, with 659,700 individuals arrested in 2017 for violating marijuana laws and 599,282 individuals charged with the violation due to possession.

  • The Mexican Drug War

The drug war in Mexico was declared by President Felipe Calderon towards the end of 2006. It is reported to have resulted in the death of more than 200,000 individuals due to drug-related violence. This initiative was launched not only to stop the use and distribution of dangerous substances such as heroin and cocaine but also to intercept marijuana trafficking.

Ironically, this plant was deemed as the country’s largest agricultural export back in 2010, which means that the revenue brought by cannabis was funding the country’s war. From 2012 to 2018, President Felipe Calderon continued this campaign leading to the capture of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and other significant figures in illegal drug trafficking.

  • The Philippines’ War on Drugs

Since 2016, the Philippine has been the subject of talks due to the relatively recent implementation of the drug war by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016. Reports on the death count vary as the Drug Policy Alliance says there is more than 12,000 dead due to the initiative, while Al Jazeera says that around 27,000 lives were lost.

Just like in the U.S. and Mexico, the Philippines’ war fights cannabis as part of this campaign. Recent criticisms against the implementation stemmed from the country’s authorities wanting to ban the song ‘Amatz’ by rapper Shanti Dope as it supposedly promotes MJ use.

Authorities also earned criticisms for burning millions worth of the plant in an open-air area to destroy it and for making jokes about using the herb in light of the death toll.

  • Other Parts of the World

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena expressed his commendation of the Philippine campaign, while Al Jazeera reported in Bangladesh’s ‘Philippine-style war on drugs’ launched on May 2018.

Meanwhile, Asia countries such as Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore practices violent penalties for individuals ‘accused’ of using drugs. These punishments include caning, whipping and flogging suspect, including adults and children.

China also has its version of the initiative launched in the 1990s involving placing drug users who were seen as national or public threats in detention facilities to be re-educated using ‘forced labor.’

Why Was Cannabis Legalized?

When this many governments are fighting marijuana as part of their drug wars, you might not help but think: why was this plant legalized in some parts of the world? Here are some factors that you should consider in finding an answer to this question:

The Failure of Drug Wars

An article published by Vox says that the legalization of the plant is a response to the failure of the drug wars. According to Vox, the war on marijuana has resulted in black markets for the plant. This shows that even with increased penalties and efforts to eliminate cannabis use, the wars fail to stop the consumption of the plant.

Places Where Medical Marijuana is Legal

Aside from failing to stop people from using the herb, these types of campaign fail to recognize the scientifically proven medical use of the plant. It is important to remember that the plant was utilized by ancient civilizations for medicinal purposes, as well as for recreational and industrial endeavors. Meanwhile, there are countries which have legalized the application of the plant not only in medicine but also for recreation.

  • Uruguay

This South American country is the first one to legalize the plant. Uruguayans have been able to access this herb for medical and recreational use since 2013.

  • Canada

In October 2018, Canada legalized not only MMJ but also the recreational use of this plant nationwide.

  • Thailand

Towards the end of 2018, Thailand became the first country in Asia to make medical cannabis fully legal.

  • Some States in the U.S.

In the last election conducted in November 2018, the U.S. now has 33 states that allow the use of medical marijuana. Of this number, 10 states and District of Columbia allows the recreational use of the plant. Meanwhile, only 3 states (Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota) complete prohibits cannabis and its cannabinoids. The rest of the states allow the use of cannabidiol (CBD) with regulated amounts of THC. The recently passed Farm Bill also legalized hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) as an industrial crop.

  • Other countries

According to various sources, the following countries with favorable marijuana laws are:

  • Argentina – Fully decriminalized with legal CBD and partial MMJ legalization
  • Australia – Partial decriminalization and fully legal MMJ
  • Chile – Fully legalized MMJ
  • Colombia – Fully decriminalized and legal MMJ
  • Croatia – Fully legal MMJ
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic – Fully legal MMJ
  • Germany – Fully decriminalized and legal MMJ
  • Greece
  • India – Legal in some states, but illegal on the federal level
  • Israel – Fully legalized MMJ
  • Italy – Fully legalized MMJ
  • Jamaica – Fully decriminalized and partially legal MMJ
  • Lesotho
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia – Fully legal MMJ
  • Malta
  • Mexico – Decriminalized and fully legal MMJ
  • Norway
  • Poland – Partially legal MMJ
  • Puerto Rico – Fully legal MMJ
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey – Fully legalized MMJ
  • Zimbabwe

Meanwhile, personal use of the herb is legal in Peru, Spain, the Netherlands and South Africa.

The Medical Applications of Marijuana

The number of countries with favorable cannabis laws show that the plant has a lot to offer in medicine and medical treatments. It has been used for pain management, treatment for mood and mental disorders, preventive treatments and even as a treatment for opioid addiction.

Common chronic and debilitating diseases that are qualified for MMJ

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Brain degeneration diseases
  • Hepatitis C
  • PTSD

MMJ is also prescribed to patients who experience chronic or debilitating symptoms and effects of treatments. This includes:

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Muscle spasms
  • Severe and chronic pain
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
  • Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis

The Future of Medical Marijuana

In the U.S., there are 9 state leaders who expressed the desire to legalize recreational cannabis. These states are Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has also introduced the S. 420 bill, which aims to legalize the plant on the federal level.

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ House of Representatives passed the House Bill 6517, which gives access to medical marijuana in January 2019.

Conclusion

The question stands: Is the war on marijuana justified? Doubts remain even as medical marijuana is legalized in many parts of the world. Some individuals believe that what reports call ‘state-sanctioned violence’ is called for in order to eliminate the use of illicit drugs including marijuana. However, the deaths of suspects and innocents are not justified and some analysts say that these drug war-related violence can be avoided through legalization. Moreover, the socio-economic implications of these initiatives should also never be pushed aside.

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Cannabis Legalization

5 Ways to Support the Marijuana Legalization Movement

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Marijuana Legalization

The current state of cannabis legalization in the USA is a two-sided coin. On one side, 37 states have legalized medical marijuana, and on the other hand, 18 states where recreational use is legal. The fluctuation between these two numbers can be attributed to our country’s history with cannabis and their varying views on what should happen going forward. A recent report from CBS News found that 61% of Americans now favor legalization, up from 31% back in 2000. With public opinion shifting on this issue by leaps and bounds every year, there’s never been a better time than now to make your voice heard if you want to see an end to prohibition. 

As a cannabis enthusiast, you may be wondering how you can help the country push for 100% legalization (at least medically). We’ve prepared 5 ways you can actively support the legalization movement and get the country to a place where the fears and myths about this healing plant are trending in the right direction, which is legalization. 

1. Educate yourself about the benefits of marijuana

Marijuana is a plant that grows naturally in many regions of the world. It has been used for thousands of years as an herbal remedy and was first documented by ancient Chinese doctors as early as 2737 BC. The medicinal benefits of marijuana are now becoming more well known because it is now legal to use it medicinally in many states. Marijuana helps treat chronic pain, nausea, muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis or paraplegia (paralysis), seizures due to epilepsy, weight loss from HIV/AIDS or cancer treatment, PTSD symptoms, including flashbacks and nightmares related to trauma experienced during the military.

2. Let your voice be heard by contacting your representatives and letting them know how you feel

So you’re ready to do your civic duty and contact a representative about legalization? Great! Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your experience. 

Canberra Legalizes Cannabis

  • Find what issues matter most to you in this area of legislation, such as medical use or recreational use. Figure out which representatives cover these areas, then find their contact information and phone numbers.   
  • Call them up on the phone! Most importantly, be polite when speaking with them so they can understand where you’re coming from. It’s also important not to interrupt them while they are talking because it might make them feel like you don’t respect their opinion or time. 

3. Support local businesses that sell cannabis products

Cannabis products are now available in many stores and online. As cannabis becomes legalized, it is essential to support the communities that have been impacted by prohibition. One way you can do this is by supporting your local businesses that sell cannabis products. Another way is by raising awareness by wearing Legalize Marijuana Apparel to show your support!

4. Share articles on social media to raise awareness

Do you want to help legalize cannabis right now? If so, share articles like this one on social media! 

The reality is that cannabis prohibition has failed miserably to prevent the use of marijuana in society. Prohibition leads to a black market where consumers don’t know what they’re buying or who’s selling it, which causes serious health risks. Cannabis legalization will create jobs and generate revenue for states with legalized recreational marijuana while simultaneously reducing criminal activity associated with illegal drug distribution. These reasons are more than enough to warrant sharing posts like this on social media.

5. Vote for candidates who support marijuana legalization in the 2020 election 

America’s opioid epidemic is killing tens of thousands of people a year, and we are still struggling with the legalization of marijuana. It seems that the country has come to accept that medicinal marijuana can be a valuable treatment for specific conditions such as chronic pain or epilepsy. Still, there is a lot of confusion about whether it should be legal recreationally. The availability of medical cannabis could help reduce our dependence on these dangerous drugs. So do your civic duty and vote for candidates you align with and ones that support the legalization of cannabis. 

Conclusion

The movement to legalize marijuana is gaining momentum across the United States. More and more states are considering legalizing the recreational or medical use of cannabis, so we all need to support this change in the law to make a difference. We hope you take these 5 ways and create the change we wish to see in the world today!

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Cannabis Legalization

When Will Weed be Legal in Florida?

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When Will Weed be Legal in Florida

As of June 2021, 17 states in the United States have fully legalized the use of cannabis, including the District of Columbia. The rest, except four in which cannabis is fully illegal, have either decriminalized the plant, legalized medical cannabis, or a combination of both.

Florida is one of the states that has a mixed stand on the plant. It is legal for medicinal uses, but it is not yet decriminalized state-wide. So, for Floridians, the question is this: when will marijuana be legal in the state? Let us shed some light on this matter below.

The Current Status of Cannabis in Florida

When Will Weed be Legal in Florida

Today, only medical marijuana including medical cannabidiol (CBD) is legal in Florida. There are penalties and punishments in place for marijuana possession and sale offenders. People found with the plant can be charged with misdemeanor or felony, jail time of 1 year to 15 years, and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the scale.

Those who are caught selling can also be penalized, incarcerated, and fined within the same range. Again, the intensity of the punishment will depend on how much weed or plant is found, and whether they are within 1,000 feet of a school, college, park, and other particular areas.

The good news is, some counties across the state have locally decriminalized the plant, the oldest being Miami-Dade County which passed the decriminalization law in June 2015 through a city council resolution. No criminal charges will be given to offenders found carrying 20 grams of cannabis. Instead, they will be given a fine of $100.

Other counties that passed similar laws include Alachua, Broward, Cocoa Beach, Hallandale Beach, Key West, Miami Beach, Orlando, Palm Beach, Port Richey, Sarasota, Tampa, Volusia, and West Palm Beach. All of them have a limit of 20 grams and penalizes offenders either through a $100 fine, cite and release, or 10 hours of community service.

Latest Attempts at Legalization

When Will Weed be Legal in FL

So When Will Weed be Legal in Florida?

Floridian advocates of legalization have campaigned for a ballot initiative for the 2022 elections through the Florida Marijuana Legalization Initiative. The proposal, sponsored by sensible Florida, Inc., sought to legalize the possession of up to one ounce of weed for residents aged 21 years and above. It also suggested to let residents own up to six plants, with only a maximum of three plants flowering or mature per household.

Ultimately, the ballot initiative sought to amend existing laws and regulate marijuana including the issuing, renewal, suspension, and revocation of licenses for cultivation, production, testing, and retail. If this initiative has been successfully added to the 2022 ballot, residents would be able to vote to legalize possession.

Unfortunately, the Florida Supreme Court voted 5-2 against the initiative. According to Chief Justice Charles Canady, the language used to write the proposal was misleading.

So, When Will Weed be Legal in Florida?

As mentioned, the latest attempts to legalize the possession of the plant in Florida failed. Keep in mind that this is only talking about the legalization of possession and not the full legalization of the plant. With this, it may take a few more years before Floridians can access legal weed in the state.

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Cannabis Legalization

Is Weed Legal in DC 2021?

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People often go to Google or ask Alexa for “weed delivery near me” in DC without knowing if it’s 100% legal. In 2021, weed laws can be somewhat confusing in the nation’s capital, and we hope that this article will help guide you through what is and what is not legal in the District of Columbia (DC). 

Weed has been consumed by many nations for centuries and has become a viable business opportunity for those willing to take on the legalities and red tape of owning a cannabis-based business. The ability to legally consume cannabis has opened up some lucrative opportunities for dispensaries, cultivation specialists, and smoke shops around the area, as well as weed delivery DC. To successfully navigate the space, you must know the laws. 

First off, let’s start with what is not a criminal violation in DC. 

In 2014, voters in the district approved to legalize the possession of small amounts of weed for personal use. This action is commonly known as the Personal Use Initiative or “Initiative 71”. The law was instated on February 26th of 2015. With the Personal Use Initiative in place, it is now legal for a person who is 21 years of age or older to:

  • Possess TWO (2) ounces of marijuana or less;
  • Transfer ONE ounce of marijuana or less to another person who is also at least 21 years of age or older, just as long as there is no payment made or any other exchange of goods or services. This is roughly interpreted as “gifting.” ;
  • Grow / Cultivate up to SIX (6) marijuana plants inside their residence. Of the 6, no more than THREE (3) can be mature;
  • Have in possession, marijuana-related products and paraphernalia such as rolling papers, blunt or cigar wrappers, pipes or bongs – that’s associated with an ounce or less of weed; or
  • Use marijuana on the grounds of private property.

Alternatively, here are a few points that people can still be arrested for under the current laws of DC:

  • The sale of any amount of marijuana to another person;
  • Having more than TWO (2) ounces of marijuana in one’s possession;
  • Operation of a motor vehicle or boat while under the influence of marijuana; or
  • Smoking, eating, or drinking marijuana in any public place such as public parks, streets, sidewalks, alleys, etc.

Those possessing marijuana that is not of the age of 21 or older can be arrested if they have more than 2 ounces of marijuana. If local authorities observe a person under the age of 21 with up to TWO (2) ounces of marijuana, it will be seized. Still, the person will not be arrested nor issued a citation or ticket. If a person states that they are 21 years of age or older but cannot prove their age with a valid identification card, they will be issued a warning ticket. The seized item(s) will be returned if the person brings in the warning ticket and proof of them being 21 years of age or older. This will need to be presented to the police station in the same district where the seizure occurred. This sequence should happen no sooner than 24 hours of seizure and no later than 21 days after. 

Individuals who have an authorized medical marijuana card (MMJ Card) from the District Department of Health can continue to possess up to TWO (2) ounces of medical marijuana per month. 

In Conclusion

It is always wise to be in the know when it comes to the laws in your area. For adults 21 years of age or older, the laws are more favorable than they have been in the past. Stay smart and consume marijuana under the guidance of local laws. You can safely and legally consume marijuana in DC and enjoy the many healing benefits of the cannabis Sativa plant.

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