|July 12th 2019, 7:11pm|
Marijuana legalization in the United States
Recently there has been more news about Cannabis legalization in the U.S. on the federal level. It's still legal but it appears there are bipartisan discussions and they are aimed more towards how to proceed with legalization rather than IF laws should be changed. There are so many different variables that go into this such as whether or not to release prisoners who were imprisoned for Cannabis related offenses and expungement of their criminal records, to what the DEA will do with the funds that were previously being allocated for Cannabis related investigations. Furthermore there are critics who agree with marijuana legalization but dont want any decisions made until a well thought out plan is created, such as will there be any additional benefit to groups and regions devastated by the war on drugs.
Some of the thought process behind slowing the legalization legislation down in the United States involves helping these communities that have had unbalanced prosecutions for marijuana related offenses to receive some sort of advantage in starting a marijuana business over groups who may not have been disproportionately subjected to prison time. Statistics show that blacks have had a much higher rate of incarceration for cannabis related offenses than whites. Many people, including myself, see this state by state legalization movement lucrative for the already wealthy who can afford paying the expensive license fees required to open a dispensary or licensed grow operation. Many of those affected by the war on drugs have had their lives ruined in the sense that they have a criminal record and cannot as easily find a job or acquire certain licenses such as to practice law or medicine because of these arrests. Now that laws are changing, these same individuals who have had their lives changed forever as well as their families being negatively affected, may not be in a position to open a dispensary due to financial constraints possibly caused by the effects from their arrest. Now that we wont be arresting individuals for possessing marijuana, is it fair for them to still be burdened with the negative consequences associated with having a felony conviction on their record? Should we wipe the slate clean for them? Should they be able to own firearms to protect themselves and their families? Will they be able to get jobs easier and have a clean record upon seeing the results of a background check? Will they be allowed to receive student loans?
There are so many questions that need to be answered that it is no surprise that some want the process to not be approved until all of these questions can be answered. If we legalize now and wait until later to answer these questions, then maybe it will be too late for many affected to start competing with those who have had a head start in the industry.
I am absolutely an advocate for marijuana legalization in the U.S., and would like it now, or decades ago if we can go back in time, but the question is, what so we do so that we can try to undo some of the injustice these absurd laws have caused.
I'm very curious what you guys think about all of this. On some levels I myself am a little confused on what should be done, and here's why. I am part Colombian, part Czech, part a few other things. Most people who see me say that I am white. I'm not sure how I feel about race being involved in the process of obtaining cultivation or dispensary licenses. I'm truly just not sure what I think. I can agree on both sides really. I dont like to think because you were born black you should receive anything more than me who was born as I described. At the same time, I get it. I think something should definitely be done to undo the mistake that our country has made, but I dont think it should come at a disadvantage for someone such as myself or family members due to not being born black. I feel if we do that then we are making another mistake and will later have to help those who did not receive the same advantages but are not white. I really hate hearing that blacks were affected more than other groups because while that may be a statistical fact, my family and I also had options to break the law for financial gain from cannabis but we pretty much didnt because we didnt want to be arrested.
A coworker said something to me that made me wonder, just a little bit about this. He told me that growing up he and his white friends would be very secretive about their cannabis use. They wouldn't smoke it out in the open but at the same time he said he witnessed being in black neighborhoods where people were freely smoking cannabis standing on the sidewalk. If one could say that white people hid their use while blacks did not, then that could explain the disproportionate arrests. However I dont think that anything is black or white and I think even if that were the case across the entire country, which is implausible, the fact that noone should have been arrested for cannabis sale or cultivation still stands.
I'm very curious how everyone reading this feels about the subject. And because it is related to race it wouldn't hurt to say whether you are black, white, Chinese, Mexican, etc. Let's hear your thoughts on all of this.