Across North America it is now legal in 13 states to use marijuana for medical reasons and another two states have relaxed the penalties for use of medical marijuana. Then there are the threee states that have licensed not-for-profit organizations for growing medical marijuana and the legislatures in California and Massachusetts conducting hearings on whether to legalize weed or not.
Globally, seven European countries have decriminalized marijuana and, in response to the violence associated with the illegal drug trade, the former presidents of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico have all proposed that prohibition be lifted.
In short, there appears to be a worldwide shift towards a more tolerant attitude towards drugs. And the surprising fact is that the driver for this new thinking is not left-wing, militant and liberal; on the whole the support for leniency comes from ordinary folk across the whole political spectrum.
Over the coming days we will be taking a closer look at the situation in the US and elsewhere and asking why the legal regulation of drugs seems so unthinkable.
After the war on drugs: Blueprint for Regulation from Transform on Vimeo.
The After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation report issued by the UK’s Transform Drug Policy Foundation calls for a cautious, phased introduction, probably starting with legalization of cannabis and its sale or consumption at regulated membership based coffee-shop style, licensed premises. It makes interesting reading.
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Valid medicinal value, it’s a victimless crime, the War on Drugs WAY too costly, too many arrests for simple possession, tax it and use the money to pay for health insurance and to reduce the deficit…Need I say more?
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Marijuana prohibition has been a total failure and is perhaps this country’s greatest mistake. Not only has it created criminals out of nearly a third of the country’s populace, it costs our society billions of dollars every year, creates a strain on our prison system, and has little or no effect on marijuana use in the US.
In some cases, prosecuting marijuana use has turned non-violent, middle class kids into violent and unpredictable, career criminals. Once a person has a criminal conviction on their record, they are far less likely to find a good job and become a useful member of society. Other countries with more liberal drug laws have much lower rates of drug addiction among their people. I invite you to my web-page devoted to raising awareness on the assault on our civil liberties.