Millions of Americans are to vote on marijuana legalization in states such as Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. so that penalties may be dropped for marijuana use.
Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa plant. It is often smoked or baked in order to achieve the “high.”
Marijuana legalization has been in the talks for quite some time now. Despite its illegal status, it is widely used. Its use has been increasing since 2007, and it is the most common illicit drug used in the United States. “Voters are recognizing that marijuana is not as nearly harmful as they’ve been led to believe,” said Mason Tvert of the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project. “Once someone understands that fact, it’s very easy to arrive at the conclusion that we need to start treating it that way.”
Even those who are not pro-marijuana are fighting for marijuana legalization. “I figured, this is good citizenship. I’m not pro-marijuana, but I’m anti-prohibition,” Steves said from the Oregon governor’s mansion while visiting and talking pot taxes with Gov. John Kitzhaber. “Nobody needs to vote for me, nobody can fire me.”
Medical marijuana is permitted in 23 states, including Washington, D.C. In Colorado, legal marijuana may be purchased for recreational use but requires a tax fee. Colorado made $21.6 million just this year.
This movement for marijuana legalization is not met without opposition. According to an earlier report from the Inquisitr News, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper disagreed with his state’s decision to legalize marijuana. He said that the decision was reckless, especially since the drug is still federally illegal.
Pro-marijuana groups have fought back, too. “With the legalization of marijuana comes mass marketing, advertising, and storefront properties. Such a vastly different, commercial landscape will significantly change the social norms and perceptions of our communities,” the group Big Marijuana, Big Mistake said in a statement about Alaska’s Ballot Measure 2. “Big Marijuana won’t be about homegrown local businesses. Rather, it will be led by outside companies seeking to make a profit off Alaskans. This initiative is being funded by big-dollar interests from the Lower 48, who see Alaska as a domino in their quest to legalize marijuana nationwide.”
[Image via Trevor Hughes/USA Today]