Marijuana legalization has been a hot topic in the US for decades, however it was only during the Obama period when states began to legalize its use for recreational rather than medicinal purposes, with states like Washington and Colorado opting to try and find a way to make cannabis a legal commodity. Since those revolutionary moves, more and more states have voted to make recreational marijuana legal, including California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona, who all passed the vote on election day.
Why Are More States Voting for Recreational Marijuana To Be Legalized?
People have used marijuana for recreational purposes illegally for a long time, and from a medical perspective there aren’t really any reasons to believe it is not less harmful than alcohol – which is of course legal and socially acceptable for leisure use all over the country (and most of the rest of the world) for people who are of age. By making it legal, states can instigate taxation on its purchase and manufacture, which can fund other things – much as high tax duties can be imposed on other legal recreational drugs, such as tobacco products.
If marijuana is legal, states can reap revenue that would otherwise go on the ‘black market’, and people who want to use the drug can do so as law abiding citizens. This is basically a win-win – whether you want to use marijuana yourself or not, people will do, and it is better if the money goes in the state’s coffers, the quality and movement of the product is regulated, and there is a safe industry around it that benefits the economy (as there is with wine in California). Many people have been swayed by these arguments and voted for marijuana legalization in USA for their states, however there is a problem – marijuana is still illegal at a federal level, and this causes conflict when states want to legalize it.
What Is Trump’s Stance?
Despite the fact that marijuana legalization was a topic a lot of people voted on on election day, Trump was actually asked about his position relatively little, and did not go out of his way to make it a topic he was open to discussing. In August in Denver Trump said he’d see it as a state level issue, and so we could assume from that he wouldn’t plan to bring federal law down on states where it is legal, however controversial press secretary Sean Spicer has also compared the rise in marijuana legalization to the rise in opioid addiction (though there is no evidence that cannabis is addictive) and suggested it was a problem that the new administration would like to fix.
Will the New Administration Obstruct Further Legalization?
It is hard to say what the current Republican government plan to do, especially given they haven’t presented a united front on marijuana in their campaign, and that there is a conflict between a government that sold itself as fairly libertarian (which would imply pro legalization) and also very conservative (so of the opinion drugs are all bad).
It is clear from the votes that more and more states see the sense in legalizing marijuana, for both medicinal and recreational use, but what is not clear is whether the conflict between federal and state law will cause problems for those wishing to be involved with marijuana as an industry or activity. It will be interesting to see how Trump tries to address this moving forward, or if he takes a similar light-handed approach than that used by former President Obama.
Robert Brusco studied in the USA and obtained a university degree in Sociology. Some of his fields of interest are History, Politics and Ethnology. He collaborates as a web writer for different online magazines.