Many Americans hoped that they would get some good news at the US Elections 2020. They would be happy to know that the US is moving towards a more ‘green’ future, with weed. Nationwide push to legalize drugs in the US was partially successful on Election Day (3rd November). 6 states (and Washington D.C) voted to make drugs legal despite the pressure to restrict drugs by Donald Trump’s Republican Party.
US is steadily following its neighbor Canada, who legalized drugs in 2018 as Simpsons predicted. Currently, there are 33 states in which marijuana is legal for medical use and in 12 states (and Washington, D.C) it is allowed for recreation. All these states that have voted for drug legalization had a question on their ballot. The questions were fired at the Republican drug laws which were strongly against the social equity in the society. Democrats have been fighting to make drugs legal in the US for quite some time.
Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris has also supported the legalization of marijuana on state level. She added that the laws against these drugs are not even applied on everyone equally. She implied that many people, especially black citizens have suffered a great loss due to Republican Party’s regressive policies.
The new law does not mean people start to smoke out in the open. There is a 100 USD fine if authorities find someone smoking openly. Moreover, if a cultivator has displayed a weed plant openly, he would get 250 USD fine. However, the only difference is that they won’t be criminalized for using marijuana. The new also encourages them to join an addiction recovery programs at authorized rehab centers. Reportedly, each state will collect tax from the sale of marijuana and use it to fund the operations of addiction recovery.
Oregon Legalize Drugs To Make History
Oregon became the first state to entirely decriminalize the possession of strong drugs in limited quantity. It already legalized cannabis in 2014 for recreational use but voted for two additional ranges. First, to make all drugs legal and second, to make psilocybin mushrooms (AKA shrooms) legal for medicinal purposes. Joe Biden’s Democratic Party is highly projected to win from this state.
The state has historically transformed drugs into a public health issue rather than a legal issue. With the obvious cause and effect of drugs, they are also popular for treating a number of condition like pain, nausea, and insomnia. But, it does not necessarily ease the kind of pain caused by serious injury or surgery. Oregon is still determining which conditions can be qualified for a prescription.
The system is very different from the one Federal government had in place. Now citizens can buy cannabis products at licensed dispensary and use them at home. There are also shrooms cards which people can buy to consume shrooms at psilocybin service center. ‘Decriminalizing all drugs’ mean even cocaine and heroin are also legal but they won’t be available at local dispensaries. People can still keep small amounts of it for personal use and non-one will arrest them.
Previously, black US citizens faced a lot of police brutality, just like they faced in George Floyd Case. The police treated them in a more severe manner than they treated white citizens. Many people have shown outrage against this type of contrast in humanity.
In Arizona, medical marijuana has been legal since 2011 but now possession of entertaining drugs also became legal. Adults (21+) can hold an ounce of recreational marijuana. Similar to Oregon, it will be available at pharmacies.
Convictions related to marijuana are no longer illegal under the new laws. Democrats are also leading the elections here so Arizona is hoping to undo the damage done by Republican’s war on drugs, which marginalized minorities.
On the other hand, there is a 16 % tax on the sale of recreational drugs. Tax revenue will reportedly go to developments in community colleges and public safety. The current Republican governor has opposed this new law and asked voters to not legalize drugs. He has appealed to keep marijuana strictly medical because it can have an influence on teenagers.
Following other states, Montana has also allowed its citizens to legally purchase marijuana and possess up to an ounce. Republican Party is leading with a lot of votes right now but the state has already applied the new laws. Citizens can even have up to 4 cannabis seedlings and plants in their home. Furthermore, just like Arizona, Montana will also erase all records of marijuana-related crime convictions.
There will 20% tax on the sale and the revenue will be used to strengthen Montana’s economy. It involves investments in public safety and water conservation efforts. And of course, citizens below 21 are not allowed to buy drugs.
This state is taking baby steps towards the trending initiative. Currently, it has only voted to legalize medical marijuana that users can buy through a doctor’s prescription. It has allowed doctors to prescribe weed for 22 medical conditions including cancer, Crohn’s diseases (swelling of bowel), and severe nausea. If anyone has one of those medical conditions, they can keep 5 ounces of weed per month. Each sale from licensed retailers will include a 7% tax.
In response, the Republicans proposed their own initiative involving a more restrictive approach to legalize drug. They proposed that only terminally ill patients must be allowed to smoke marijuana. State legislature approved this initiative by the Republicans, which might confuse a lot of Americans who were not sure what they voting for.
Democrats were trying to educate people and informing to vote for the right option, so they can avoid any strategic trap.
In South Dakota, doctors can now prescribe medical marijuana to citizens aged 21 and above. Individuals can also use it recreationally and possess or distribute up to 1 ounces of cannabis. The programs for medical marijuana and recreational sale at pharmacies will reportedly start by April, 2022. People living in areas far from retailers, can grow maximum 6 plants at a confined space.
South Dakota was known for the most conservative state as far as drugs are concerned. The Republican governor of the state has emotionally reacted to the drug legalization initiative. She highlighted the danger weed possess to children and requested people to not vote for it.
State will collect 15% tax on the drug sale, which it will partially use in state schools and other half in state’s general fund.
New Jersey already legalized medical cannabis in 2010. This year, it legalized recreational too. Adults 21 and above can possess and purchase weed for any purpose. Reportedly, a Cannabis Regulatory Commission (established by state last year) is yet to determine the limitations of logistics and possession. Which is why it is not clear whether citizens will be arrested for possession.
The state is also charging a relatively lowest tax rate from other states i.e. 6.625% per retail. Democrat State President, Steve Sweeney opposed high taxes for drugs. He said that higher tax rates will encourage citizens to obtain weed from questionable sources. Therefore, lower tax rate might freeze the black market drug deals.
The capital has legalized all psychedelics like shrooms and no longer arrest people for using them. Prosecutors have been required to drop all charges based on possession, cultivation, and distribution of psychedelic drugs. Democrat activists focused on the medical benefits of these drugs to get them on the ballot. They maintained that these drugs are clinically proven to treat anxiety, trauma, depression, and addiction.
Residents of Washington voted in huge number to legalize drugs.
Democrat Mayor of the District of Columbia remarked against the new law and said it did not look like an organically created law for the capital. However, according to critics of the current government setup, this initiative is a slow progress towards making more equal, and balanced policies that can lead to healthier public.
Will The US Legalize Drugs In All States?
The map below shows how many states have allowed drugs on what level. The green part shows complete decriminalization drugs; blue one highlights where they are only medically legal; orange states allow only certain constraints (low-THC) of the cannabis sativa (weed plant); gray areas indicate that drugs are completely illegal here.
In 2020 US Election Americans waged a war against the Federal Government’s ‘war on drugs’. This cause might had a little help from Democrats but that was imminent. The party which is leading in elections had to score some serious political points due to a rough term America faced under Donald Trump. It seems like that many citizens of the US would love to just sit back, relax, and smoke weed; taking a break from all the chaos in the country.