Every State Could Legalize Marijuana by 2021
The market for medical marijuana and recreational marijuana is growing rapidly, as lawmakers in more states pass legislation legalizing it. Already, 28 states have medical marijuana laws on the books, and eight states have passed recreational marijuana laws, too. According to the latest research by GreenWave Advisors, those numbers are about to climb significantly.
Where marijuana is legal now
Last November's election reshaped the marijuana state map. Ahead of the election, voters in only four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) had voted to establish recreational markets for adult use of cannabis, and 24 states had passed medical marijuana laws.
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Reasons Why The Government Couldn’t Legalize Marijuana
The news of marijuana set to be legalized in all 50 states with a prescription was spread last August which has reached many uninformed readers. However, the information turned out to lack credibility and was proven false, leaving marijuana still under the list of illegal drugs.
Governors of Washington and Rhode Island respectively, Christine Gregoire and Lincoln Chafee has earlier filed a petition to have the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reclassify marijuana from being a Schedule I drug to either a Schedule II or III. Drugs that are classified as Schedule I are those that show no medicinal benefit, such as heroin and LSD. Meanwhile, classified under Schedule II are those that can be accessed with prescription; examples of this are Adderall and Ritalin. Even then, there are still companies out there require workers for a yearly drug test.
Coming to the decision
Since the news of marijuana being legalized across the U.S. still remains to be false, this might bring people to ask: Just why couldn’t the government legalize marijuana? It turned out that the DEA’s decision came from a comprehensive evaluation by the Health and Human Services Department. According to their review, marijuana remains to have a “high potential for abuse”. It further backs the decision with the finding that it has “no accepted medical use”.
With this, marijuana will remain illegal under federal law, regardless of purpose and despite the laws in 25 states, including District of Columbia, that have legalized its medical or recreational use.
Betting on science
Although pot remains illegal, the hope of marijuana advocates is still tethered to further scientific understanding of the drug. DEA acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg believes that the decision could change if there is also a change in marijuana findings. After all, Rosenberg adds that the decision of classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug does not necessarily suggest that it is as dangerous as other illicit drugs. Rather than considering it as a “danger” scale, the scheduling of substances should be based on their scientific and medical evidence.
Paving way to further research
Good news for scientists, though, is that the DEA has announced plans to make further research on marijuana a lot easier. In order for researchers to continue uncovering more of marijuana’s possible medical benefits, the agency plans to expand the number of groups that can legally grow it for the sake of research. Presently, only the University of Mississippi researchers are permitted to plant marijuana for the benefit of their studies.
The future of marijuana in America
There is a difference between the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana. Legalization will revert marijuana back to being a taxable good just as it had until the 1930s. One of the many groups that are not in favor of legalizing marijuana is pot growers themselves, as they would lose profit in the long run. Meanwhile, decriminalization, which makes the possession of small amounts of marijuana legal, is a more practiced model in various municipalities.
While this is so, the law can still prosecute dealers and those who exceed the legal possession amount. In the long run, decriminalization of marijuana rids the justice system of low-level defendants, focusing on the more serious crimes. If this becomes a problem though, then users can still rely on test kits and other detoxifying agents that can help them through it.
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