If you haven’t noticed, marijuana legalization is a mainstream issue, and the majority of Americans believe it’s the right path forward. After decades of absurd propaganda, draconian laws, and a public that believes marijuana to be the devil’s weed, it’s increasingly refreshing to see the winds of change take place. In many parts of the country and world, marijuana laws are as harsh as they’ve ever been, but no where is the situation hopeless, and it’s hard to see widespread legalization as anything less than inevitable.
Here’s a list of what we feel to be some of biggest signs that legalization is here to stay, and times are changing.
- Laws are being reformed, all around the world. Countries like the Czech Republic have recently legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, others like Uruguay are considering recreational legalization, and over half of America has either decriminalized marijuana or legalized it for medical purposes (with legislation pending in numerous states across the country), etc.. The revolution is here, and in places where it’s not as prevalent – it will be soon.
- The majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana – a few decades ago, support was around 12%. Polling from the Pew Research Institute found that not only did 52% of Americans support legalization, but 72% feel that, despite their views, it’s inevitable. An even more recent poll, conducted by the Huffington Post and YouGov, found support among Americans to be at 57%.
- Research is catching up with reality. It seems that every few days now, despite a federal ban that makes research difficult (to say the least), new studies are coming out which validate the benefits of marijuana and its legalization. Recent studies to make a splash have shown medical marijuana legalization to reduce suicides, as well as traffic fatalities. Studies have also shown medical marijuana legalization to reduce, not increase, youth usage rates, and medical research has found marijuana to be beneficial in treating PTSD, dementia, breast cancer, etc..
- Even among those who consider themselves religious, opinions are changing rapidly, especially among youth. A recent poll conducted by a religious polling firm found that a majority of self-identified Christians aged 18-29 support marijuana legalization, and 52% believe that marijuana consumption is entirely okay.
- A recent seminar at Harvard Law School featured a section called “Tax Planning for Marijuana Dealers”, which educated students on how marijuana businesses, such as medical marijuana dispensaries, can obtain tax deductions despite being a federally illegal business. Harvard Law School…. teaching people how to dodge federal law to receive tax deductions for selling marijuana – this is undoubtedly a sign of changing times. Other colleges, such as Oregon State University, have begun offering cannabis and hemp related classes.
- Police in Seattle, Washington, have begun to issue warning letters to those found dealing marijuana on the black market rather than arresting them. In these instances, they’ve even been returning the marijuana. This is despite the fact that anyone distributing marijuana, besides when licensed by the state (no licenses have been given yet), is as illegal as it was before (a felony charge of up to 5 years in prison). This is a clear sign of the changing times, and is a shining example that not all police need to take a hard-handed approach to marijuana. It’s also important to note that police in Washington State can no longer arrest an adult 21 and older for smoking in public – it’s now a simple $103 ticket (that’s never placed on someone’s record).
- Companies involved in the marijuana industry have become legitimate investments. USA Today had an article this month titled As marijuana goes legit, investors rush in, where they discuss the legitimacy of the ever-growing (despite being federally-illegal) industry. Investors are swarming to the growing market, looking to invest in start-up companies that can take advantage of the incoming “green rush”. In addition, marijuana companies, such as Medbox (a company that manufactures marijuana vending machines), have become mainstays on the stock exchange.
- The U.S. Republican Senate Leader has filed legislation to end federal hemp prohibition. This is one of the most legislatively powerful Republicans in the country, and he’s sponsoring bipartisan legislation to find put an end to the decades long prohibition on industrial hemp, an incredibly diverse commodity. This is just for hemp, and not marijuana with higher levels of THC, but if hemp is legalized soon, and people realize they’ve been duped for decades and rejected an opportunity to take advantage of this valuable crop, many of the remaining opposition to legalization will think twice.
- Celebrities, scientists and politicians are rapidly coming out in support of legalization. The organization and website Marijuana Majority, is dedicated precisely to this. For politicians, supporting marijuana legalization is becoming a politically wise thing to do, and not the other way around, which has resulted in individuals like California’s Lt. Governor calling the war on drugs an “abject failure” while simultaneously calling for legalized marijuana. You can find a large and impressive list of legalization supporters by clicking here – you’ll quickly note that some of the top minds of our time, and most famous celebrities of our day, are on the list. In a society that near-idolizes the famous, this is important.
- Prohibition has done nothing to reduce usage rates, or reduce support for reform. The U.S., in its implementation of marijuana prohibition, has continued to slam non-violent marijuana consumers with insanely harsh criminal penalties, in some instances for possessing miniscule amounts. Despite this, and despite a government propaganda machine that never seems to stop spewing bullshit, the number of cannabis consumers has risen, not decreased, and support for ending prohibition has grown tremendously in recent years. Prohibition doesn’t work, and it never will. Legalization is the inevitable answer.