“With New York’s law, 15 states and Washington, DC, have now legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, although DC doesn’t allow recreational sales. (South Dakota voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize cannabis in November, but that measure’s future is uncertain as it’s caught up in legal battles.)”
“two studies published in November found that legalization has not been associated with increases in adolescent marijuana use or addiction. In fact, there is some evidence that both decline when pot prohibition is repealed for adults.”
“The 2020 returns confirmed that marijuana prohibition—which two-thirds of Americans oppose, according to Gallup—is on its way out. Fifteen states have now approved legalization, up from 11 before Election Day. States where recreational use has been legalized now include about a third of the U.S. population.
The results also pointed the way toward less oppressive treatment of other psychoactive substances.”
” Americans may not be ready to eliminate all penalties for drug use, let alone recognize the moral dubiousness of continuing to arrest and imprison people who merely aid and abet behavior that never should have been treated as a crime. But the history of marijuana reform shows that incremental changes can eventually lead to a fundamental reconsideration of the way the government treats psychoactive substances that politicians do not like.”
“In a close 27 to 25 vote (with one abstention)..members of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) backed a World Health Organization (WHO) proposal to take cannabis and cannabis resin off the list of Schedule IV drugs—i.e., those which the international body says are “particularly liable to abuse and to produce ill effects” and should therefore be most strictly controlled around the world. Schedule IV drugs include heroin, fentanyl, and—from 1961 until now—cannabis.”
“While the U.N. vote “doesn’t totally free the plant from treaty control, it’s a giant step toward the normalization of cannabis in medicine above all but also in our societies generally””
“These recommendations might not be legally binding, but they can wield significant influence around the globe.
For instance, after the WHO change, Argentina’s government “issued a decree authorizing sales and self-cultivation of cannabis for medical use, and the justification explicitly refers to the outcome of the critical review and the WHO recommendation to delete cannabis from schedule IV,” noted Jelsma.”
“The rescheduling “is even more important when you consider that cannabis was placed into Schedule IV without ever having been subject to any scientific assessment,” suggests For Alternative Approaches to Addiction Think & do tank (FAAAT) in a press release. “Schedule IV for cannabis is a relic of the most extreme international drug laws inherited from 1950s morals … The removal from Schedule IV is, therefore, phenomenal news for millions of patients around the world and a historical victory of science over politics.””
“Four years ago, Pennsylvania allowed patients suffering from any of 17 serious medical conditions to relieve their symptoms with marijuana. But there was a catch: If they used cannabis as a medicine, they could no longer legally drive.
Last week the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a bill that would eliminate that legal disability by requiring evidence of impairment to convict medical marijuana patients of driving under the influence (DUI). That reform points the way to a long overdue reevaluation of DUI laws that irrationally and unfairly punish cannabis consumers who pose no threat to public safety.”
“Half a dozen states, including Pennsylvania, have “per se” laws that define DUI based on the concentration of THC in a driver’s blood, while one (Colorado) allows an inference of guilt when that level reaches five nanograms per milliliter. But these laws don’t make sense”
“Because THC, unlike alcohol, is fat-soluble rather than water-soluble, there is no clear or consistent relationship between THC in the blood and THC in the brain, which means THC blood levels do not correspond neatly to degrees of impairment. Complicating the situation further, individual responses to a given dose of THC vary widely, especially when you compare occasional marijuana users to regular consumers, who may develop tolerance to the drug’s effects or learn to compensate for them.”
“Even states that have legalized marijuana for all adults 21 or older do not necessarily have rational DUI laws. Illinois, Nevada, and Washington make drivers automatically guilty at THC blood levels that regular consumers commonly exceed even when they are not impaired, while Michigan still has a zero tolerance law that treats any amount of THC as conclusive DUI evidence.”
“In every state where a ballot measure asked Americans to reconsider the drug war, voters sided with reformers. In Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota, voters legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. In Mississippi and South Dakota (separate from the full legalization measure), voters legalized medical marijuana.
In Oregon, voters decriminalized — but not legalized — all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Also in Oregon, voters legalized the use of psilocybin, a psychedelic drug found in magic mushrooms, for supervised therapeutic uses.
In Washington, DC, voters in effect decriminalized psychedelic plants, following the lead of several other cities.
With its vote, Oregon became the first state in the US to decriminalize all drugs in modern times. And marijuana is now legalized in 15 states and DC, although DC still doesn’t allow sales.”
“When the Mexican legislature meets this fall, it is poised to pass a marijuana legalization bill. The legislation will legalize cannabis for all uses—recreational, medical, industrial—and will create a Mexican Cannabis Institute to grant licenses for the cultivation, processing, sale, import, export, and research of marijuana. The country’s president and ruling political party have both endorsed the initiative, and it has already been approved by three Senate committees.
The bill’s backers hope it will curb the influence of Mexico’s drug cartels. Marijuana accounts for upwards of half of the cartels’ revenues, which are estimated to range between $20 and $50 billion dollars annually.
The past year has been the bloodiest yet in Mexico’s war against the cartels. When security forces in the city of Culiacan tried to arrest the son of drug lord El Chapo Guzmán in October 2019, they found themselves outnumbered and outgunned by the Sinaloa Cartel. In June, gangsters ambushed Mexico City’s police chief with 400 rounds of ammunition from semi-automatic rifles; in July, cartel gunmen massacred 26 residents of a drug rehab center in Guanajuato.
In the past decade, Mexico has suffered 250,000 homicides because of the drug war. Whole swaths of the country are now controlled by organized crime, including the states of Guerrero, Michoacan, Morelos, and Tamaulipas. The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) has killed more than 100 officials in the state of Jalisco alone, including federal, state, and local policemen, soldiers, mayors, and city council members. In June, it killed a federal judge and his wife. A U.S. Army Intelligence report estimates that over a six-year period, 150,000 of the Mexican army’s 250,000 soldiers deserted, finding higher wages in the drug industry.”
“When Prohibition ended in 1933, so did much of the criminal violence that haunted the United States during the Prohibition era. Latin Americans have good reason to think the same thing will happen in their countries if they end narco-prohibition.”