Is the United States Going to Legalize Marijuana Nationwide? [Opinion]
Wednesday, Nov 21, 2018

First, the good news. Staunch anti-marijuana opponent, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, lost his job as Attorney General recently. In theory, at least, this should help remove the fear that the federal government will interfere in a state’s right to make the herb legal, either medically or recreationally.

The midterms also saw some good news for cannabis. Of the four states that voted on marijuana legalization, three of them went the way of common sense. While Missouri and Utah voted ‘yes’ to medical marijuana, a recreational measure in North Dakota lost. However, residents of Michigan can now enjoy weed recreationally, as it became the tenth state to vote for it. In total, there are now 33 states (plus D.C.) that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use. The bad news? Federal legalization is not going to happen any time soon.

Yes and no. Yes, insofar as there is no evidence that Matthew Whitaker, the new AG, is vehemently anti-marijuana. No, because there is little evidence to suggest that he is pro-weed either. While he supported the legalization of CBD in Iowa, he also spoke out against the AG under Obama, Eric Holder, who famously adopted a ‘hands off’ approach to cannabis and state’s rights.

Despite using marijuana at roughly the same rate, black people are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for possession than whites. The disparity is at its worst in Iowa where you are 8.34 times more likely to be arrested if you are black. 88% of the 8.2 million cannabis-related arrests between 2001 and 2010 were for possession. So much for the notion of ‘tackling’ cartels. Enforcing marijuana laws costs $3.6 billion a year. However, the usage and availability of weed have both increased at a staggering rate. Between 1990 and 2010, there was an incredible 188% increase in marijuana-related arrests. This is one of the reasons why the United States has 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the total population. Despite the time, money, and arrests, the United States is still, by far, the world’s biggest consumer of illegal drugs. Article Sources: