Local Criminalizing Efforts

Local decriminalization efforts in last week’s midterm elections shouldn’t go unnoticed. While the US midterms saw Maryland and Missouri legalize cannabis, these smaller ballot measures are just as important.

In fact, one can make the case that local efforts are superior to state-wide top-down enforcement. Just as liberals don’t want to live in states without gun control, many conservatives don’t want legal pot stores in their towns.

The solution is decentralization. You do you. Live and let live. So long as people’s mobility rights aren’t infringed, what’s the issue?

With that in mind, let’s examine some of the local decriminalization efforts from last week’s midterms.

Local Decriminalization Efforts in Texas 

Local Decriminalization Efforts

Texas will likely be the last state to legalize recreational cannabis. Assuming they ever do. But in the meantime, some cities have taken prohibition into their own hands.

Local decriminalization efforts in Austin are old news. Last year the city council passed a resolution to stop arresting and ticketing people for possessing small amounts of cannabis.

But last week, the lesser-known cities of San Marcos, Denton, Harker Heights, Killeen, and Elgin decriminalized cannabis.

The Texas chapter of NORML was happy to see this, of course. But they caution against these kinds of “patchwork” enforcement policies based on location.

Local Decriminalization Efforts in Ohio 

Local decriminalization efforts in Ohio also saw five municipalities approve cannabis ballot measures. The municipalities of Corning, Kent, Shawnee, Rushville and Laurelville decriminalized cannabis.

In Ohio, twenty-five cities have now decriminalized cannabis.

Rhode Island Says Yes to More Cannabis 

Cannabis is already legal in Rhode Island. But local authorities can say no to legal cannabis shops within their towns or cities. After last week’s midterms, twenty-five municipalities in Rhode Island will now allow cannabis businesses to operate.

That said, Rhode Islanders may wait a long time until their local bureaucracy approves the paperwork.

Colorado Decriminalizes Magic Mushrooms

Local Decriminalization Efforts
Photo by Richard Vogel/AP/Shutterstock (10255885a)

Ten years ago, Colorado became the first state, along with Washington, to legalize cannabis. This year, Colorado spearheaded local decriminalization efforts relating to psychedelics like magic mushrooms.

Proposition 122, known as the Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022, means possessing, growing and sharing certain psychedelics is no longer a criminal act.

These psychedelics include:

  • Psilocybin “magic” mushrooms
  • Dimethyltryptamine (DMT)
  • Ibogaine
  • And mescaline 

The Act also creates “healing centres” to be licensed by the state’s regulatory agency where the public can “buy, consume and take psychedelics under supervision.” 

This goes to show local decriminalization efforts can really pay off. The question is, why stop at drug prohibition? Why not make every political issue local and remove the D.C. bureaucracy from the picture altogether?