As cannabis is breaking through multiple industries and countries, it’s still not universally accepted. The traditionalists in certain parts of North America view cannabis legalization as dangerous and should remain illegal for the safety of the general public. While some believe this stems from the War on Drugs campaign during the 1970s, politicians and activist groups say their choice in keeping weed away is relevant. But as the world changes and cannabis is making its way into everyday life, will these states give in, or will they put up a fight to continue the prohibition?
Why are states saying no to cannabis legalization?
Cannabis legalization is happening everywhere from the Netherlands, South Africa, Jamaica, and even Malta. Canada legalized cannabis in 2018. The United States however is a combination of legal and illegal cannabis laws. Out of the 50 states in North America, Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, and South Carolina are the last few states where cannabis is fully illegal. Politicians and activist groups have made it their mission to deny citizens cannabis for several reasons. One is that cannabis is still labeled a Schedule 1 drug.
Brian Vicente is the founding partner of Vicente Sederberg – a national cannabis law firm whose been following the progression of cannabis legalization in the United States for years. According to Vicente, it’s only a matter of time before the remaining states allow legalization to happen: “There are still a handful of states where the public may not be quite there yet, but that is just a learning curve similar to what the country experienced when alcohol prohibition ended. As states continue to enact and implement legalization laws, voters and elected officials in other states will see that the sky does not fall and that those states experience significant benefits.”
What are the pros and cons for states denying legalization?
While most countries are legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis, the states in North America do not have similar laws. Some states have it legalized but not decriminalized. The states that legalized cannabis have certain laws where patients are permitted to grow their weed. This raises a red flag to groups denying legalization as the law invites patients to sell their weed for financial benefits and bypass local regulations. While there are a few states that do not allow patients to grow their weed, it’s laws like these in North America that continue to extend cannabis prohibition.
However, these few states might be missing on massive benefits that come with cannabis legalization. One is new job opportunities. The cannabis industry has created over 300,000 full-time jobs, which have doubled in size since 2018. All this economic growth is what states could be missing out on. “Cannabis prohibition deprives states and localities of tax revenue, jobs, and legitimate business opportunities,” says Sederberg. “It has resulted in countless people being treated like criminals for using a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol.”
Until legalization happens across all of North America, traditionalist stands their ground in cannabis prohibition. However, cannabis prohibition isn’t just in the United States. Countries like Russia, China, Iran, and Greenland have not legalized cannabis. Yet with cannabis gaining in popularity and medical experts continuing to research the benefits of cannabis, legalization for these countries could be around the corner. Similar to the history of alcohol prohibition, cannabis could make its way to becoming a normal part of life.