With so much news about decriminalizing marijuana around the world, there is still a big percentage of the population that has a Reefer Madness mentality etched into its psyche. The Inquisitr reports that even though marijuana is the most popular illegal drug used worldwide, there are those who also believe that marijuana is a gateway to hard drugs such as crack, cocaine, meth, and heroin.
The National Organization for the Reform Of Marijuana Laws (NORML) states that their "mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high quality marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable."
The NORML Advisory Board includes star-studded personalities to add credibility and make it acceptable for 'normal citizens' to feel safe in speaking out about all facets of the marijuana industry. Among others, the board includes Willie "Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die" Nelson, Woody Harrelson, Bill Maher, Ann Druyan, and Tommy Chong, who are outspoken advocates to stop the war on pot.
For a current shakedown on the status of marijuana use and legalities in the 23 states that have supported decriminalizing marijuana, ProCon provides a simple list of where states stand on the matter.
Colorado and Washington state have recently decriminalized marijuana for recreational use and report big revenues, big taxes, and a drop in criminal activities in relation to this move. Colorado is also moving full-speed ahead to break into the industrial world of hemp merchandising.
The Christian Science Monitor claims that marijuana use around the world is declining except in the United States, where decriminalization and medicinal use of marijuana is grabbing headlines everywhere.
The Huffington Post reveals where the planet's most marijuana-friendly countries are. President José Mujica of Uruguay backs a plan to make his country the first to create a state-run marijuana industry, claiming that "people seek crack and other more dangerous poisons when they have no access to marijuana."
Many European and South American countries have relaxed their laws for possession of small amounts of marijuana. North Korea considers pot to be an herb and not a drug.
In other news, some areas still mete out harsh and strict punishment for growing, smoking, selling, using, or possessing marijuana. Cannabis Northern Ireland reveals that a Welsh father was sentenced to 10-and-a-half years for cultivating 5 marijuana plants on Malta.
On a lighter note, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter just signed a bill that will come into law on October 20 to reduce the criminal penalty for simple possession of marijuana to a civil fine, much like a traffic ticket.
[Image: Flickr user cagrimett]