Need another reason to vote? How about the cannabis question?

Midterms are days out, which means some states could be closer to legalizing marijuana for medical or even recreational use. Missouri, Utah, North Dakota and Michigan will ask for voter input on the question.

Many other states will have local questions on marijuana, including how to allocate tax revenues, how to license growers, how to regulate marketing of pot, and much more. Look for these on the ballot.

support

66% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana.

In 1969, 12% said it should be made legal; by the 1970’s only around 20% favored legalization.

why is legalization a state voting question when the federal government says it’s illegal

State governments have passed laws that allow either medical or recreational use of marijuana even though the federal government designates the drug to be illegal. This means–since federal law supersedes local law–federal charges can be brought against someone for marijuana use or distribution (regardless of local laws), but generally this is not a focus of the federal government.

schedule 1 drug

The federal government puts drugs into groups. The biggest difference between the groups is whether or not the drug has a medical use. Schedule 1 drugs have no medical use (according to the federal government) and includes heroin, LSD and cannabis. The other group is for drugs that have medical purpose.

Cannabis is a schedule 1 drug that has “no currently accepted medical use” and the government believes it to be harmful.

Yet, most states now allow patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy and other medical problems to use the drug.

The problem is at least partially because there have been no large-scale clinical studies on marijuana that could prove the drug to have medical value. These studies are problematic when the drug is restricted by the federal government.

Uruguay example

A tiny South American nation, with low crime, a high standard of living and political stability, is the first country to take the bold approach of legalizing pot. They emphasize addiction treatment and reduce their prison population while limiting the amount of pot people can buy and how much they pay for it.

Only Uruguayan citizens and legal permanent residents are allowed to purchase or grow pot.

Canada example

Canada is the second country in the world–and the first G7 nation (“group of seven” countries that includes the world’s biggest economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US)–to allow a nationwide marijuana market, put into place in order to keep the illegal market away from kids. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted:

Where does your state stand on marijuana? Geek out on it here.

Is legalized pot a good idea? Some new data from the states and countries that have done it. Let’s check it out.


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