Legalization of Marijuana on a Federal Level is on the Horizon
Marijuana is legal for recreational use in ten states for adults 21 and over, and legal for medical use in 33 states with the addition of U.S. territories Puerto Rico and Guam. More states are now discussing on whether to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes.
Marijuana has been used by millions in the past despite being illegal. Its illegal status has given jobs to criminals while imprisoning people who use a substance that has not been proven to be more dangerous than alcohol. One of the many reasons why support for marijuana is higher than ever before in U.S. history.
The American voters have spoken, and politicians are being forced to listen. Individual states are listening to their constituents and passing laws to legalize marijuana use at a fast rate. The tide is turning and it’s safe to say, that the legalization of marijuana on a federal level is on the horizon.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane. History has shown that when the public wants a product, it creates a high demand. Criminalizing a product that’s in high demand creates discontent from voters and great opportunities for criminals.
On October 28, 1919 Congress passed the Volstead Act. More widely known as the enforcement of Prohibition. A special Prohibition Unit was created and in the first six months it eliminated thousands of stills ran by bootleggers. The manpower of these units proved to be no match for Americans’ unquenchable thirst for alcohol.
The Prohibition of alcohol birthed organized crime in the U.S. and Americans were determined to get their alcohol, while gangsters were more than happy to profit from it. In the 1920’s gangsters’ profits went through the roof, they were able to organize their criminal endeavors by hiring accountants, lawyers and logistic professionals.
This also created more sinister jobs that needed to be filled, such as enforcers, thugs and blackmailers. These violent criminals were essential in keeping the kingpin’s crime enterprises going without competition or whistle blowers.
It didn’t work, it backfired
Prohibition didn’t cure alcoholism or force people into sobriety. It costed billions, increased crime and lost support by the early 1930’s. The 21st Amendment was passed in 1933 ending national prohibition.
Alcohol is now a multi-billion-dollar industry bringing in tax revenue while eliminating violent empires ran by criminals who terrorize the American public.
It looks like history is repeating itself. According to a study on The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime violent crime fell by 13% when a state bordering Mexico legalized medical marijuana. Mexican drug cartels known for their ruthless and violent operations are responsible for most of the marijuana consumed in the U.S.
As with the case of alcohol, people are going to continue to consume marijuana. When marijuana is legalized, violent crimes decrease, tax revenue are generated, and drug cartels lose money.
Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a while for politicians to bend to the will of the people, who are responsible for putting them in power in the first place. Marijuana is becoming more accepted across the U.S. because of pressure from voters who have said they want access to marijuana for recreational purposes, free from arrest and prosecution under outdated laws.
Polling Statistics According to Gallup Polls
- Only 12.5 percent of Americans were in support of marijuana being legalized in 1969
- Support for Marijuana grew and stayed in the 20% range in the 1970’s
- In 2016, 47.6 percent of Republicans were in favor of legalizing marijuana
- In 2016, 67.5 percent of Democrats were in favor of legalizing marijuana
2017 proved to be the year that marijuana legalization receives support from Americans across the board.
- Republican support reached 53% in favor of legalization
- Democrat support reached 75%
- Independent support reached 71%
In 2018 Support for legalization from all ages reaches the majority
- Support for Americans 55 and older reaches 59%
- Support for Americans 18-34 reaches 78%
- Support for Americans 35-54 reaches 65%
Between 2009-2010 support for legalizing marijuana was primarily in the West at a percentage of 56%. By 2017 and 2018 the East coast surpassed the west coast. Support on the east coast is now 67%. Support in the West, South and Midwest were all at 65%.
The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) introduced the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. This bill would categorize the use of marijuana under the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives and Tobacco. Marijuana would not longer be under control of the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Greater access to capital and research
If passed, this law would give businesses access to banks. It would allow research on marijuana to advance without the red tape and regulations that are currently in effect under prohibition from the federal government, which puts marijuana in the same category as heroine.
Federal Legalization a Reality
Blumenauer stated that even though the bill seems like a dream right now, it isn’t a gimmick. He firmly stated that the legalization of marijuana will be a reality in the near future, whether those who are firm opponents want to admit it or not.
Politicians know that they need to cater to their base
Proponents are well aware that approved marijuana for medical or recreational purposes in 2018 included Oklahoma (a very red state), Michigan (a blue state with a lot of republicans) and Vermont (known for being independent). These states represent each political spectrum. It’s obvious that once again, voters across the U.S. have evolved faster than the federal government.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) summed it up best in an interview with rolling stone that, “We are going to win this. Its’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. The American people have already spoken in state after state; red state to blue state.”
2019 an exciting year for marijuana
2019 looks like it will be an exciting year for marijuana. It’s now in the hands of lawmakers to decide if they want to stick to outdated beliefs on marijuana or if they want to get with the times and do what the American people want.