Federal Cannabis Legalization and How You Can Help
American culture has had a big shift in its attitude towards cannabis legalization within the last decade. Since many states on the west coast have legalized recreational use and others in the northeast are following this trend, things seem very promising for Federal cannabis legalization.
When Barack Obama was elected in 2008 it seemed like a moment to celebrate. I still remember when Obama said he believed the war on drugs to be a failure. Looking back I realize though he talked very little about actual policy. Still, it seemed like a ray of hope for those wishing to see the acceptance of cannabis in state and federal laws. To the dismay of many, Obama turned his back on his rhetoric of hope and change. With a simple executive order, Obama could have legalized and changed the nation forever.
Real Hope for Federally Legalized Cannabis
However, even though Obama failed to reflect the American interest in cannabis legalization, there are a lot of positive signs for cannabis enthusiasts within the political arena now.
Both Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders are the first major politicians to declare an end to federal marijuana prohibition. Tulsi Gabbard was the original co-sponsor for The Ending of Federal Marijuana prohibition act which would take marijuana off of the federal controlled substance list.
Bernie Sanders was also beacon for the cannabis culture because he stood a genuine chance of receiving the democratic nomination. The Bernie Sanders campaign promised to reform marijuana policy by legalizing Mariuana in the first 100 days of office through executive action, and to vacate and expunge all past marijuana-related convictions. Sounds pretty good to me. Unfortunately Bernie Sanders didn’t have the strength to beat the Democratic establishment. In my opinion, he certainly could have won if he took the gloves off and stood up for his movement in a less apologetic way. Instead, he bent his knee to Joe Biden, who we can absolutely not count on.
Establishment Politicians Don’t Care About Cannabis Legalization
In a recent speech on the campaign trail, Joe Biden said, “There has not been enough evidence acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug. It’s a debate, and before we legalize it nationally I want to make sure we know a lot more of the science behind it before we legalize it nationally.” Actually, No Mr. Vice President. Science concludes that Marijuana is safe, and is an effective drug with many therapeutic uses. Debate ended. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz7Myf6xcMA&t=17s
The problem with Biden’s age-old gateway drug argument is it doesn’t consider how cannabis could be used as a weapon to defeat opiate addiction. Doctors have been providing highly addictive drugs such as hydrocodone and oxycodone for decades. These all have a very high rate of physical and psychological dependency. There are many stories of people who turn to heroin to soothe their opiate addiction after their prescription has expired. I remember when I was fifteen and prescribed hydrocodone after I had my wisdom teeth removed. It’s hard to fathom that it’s socially acceptable to prescribe these highly addictive drugs to young people, while in the year 2020 the likes of Joe Biden still proclaim there is no conclusive evidence to prove that cannabis is safe.
How does the Trump cabinet view cannabis Legalization?
Many individuals in the Trump cabinet share a similar point of view. Vice president Mike Pence still believes marijuana to be a gateway drug and classifies it in the same category as Heroin and Crack/Cocaine. Attorney General William Barr is in some alignment with Pence, but he has a more merciful approach. In a testimony on C-Span last year William Barr said “I would prefer one of two approaches rather than where we are. Personally, I would still favor one uniform federal rule against Marijuana. But if there’s not sufficient consensus, then I think the way to go is to permit a more federal approach so states can make their own decisions within the framework of the federal law.”
The way Barr said this is a bit confusing to me. I think he’s saying to allow the states to make up their own minds if there is not an agreement among federal officials on cannabis legalization. However, regardless of the conservative view of many officials in the Trump cabinet, I don’t think it’s beyond Trump to sign an executive order for federal legalization. If he faces enough pressure from the public, the likelihood increases.
How can the public pressure federal legalization?
One thing is for certain. The citizens of this country can’t rely anymore for politicians to legalize without a push. If we want a positive future for the cannabis industry we need to organize, take action, and demand our rights to operate cannabis businesses and purchase cannabis products in every state.
As FDR told the public before he put into action the historic New Deal legislation, “You will have to force my hand.” We must take this attitude. When the public mobilized, president FDR went to his wealthy friends and said: “You see them out there? You’re going to have to give up some of your wealth, or all of it.”
The future of federal cannabis legalization is totally up to the American people, not the politicians. If we sit back and hope, we will most likely be disappointed. But if we come together, take civil action, and demand it to be legalized who knows what’s possible?
The major roadblock we’re facing now is the fact that we’re in a pandemic. There are unfortunately many issues that are a higher priority than Cannabis legalization. Surely it will be hard to get the ear of politicians about any issue that’s not related to the pandemic And we certainly can’t organize a protest.
However, we still can write to our federal politicians and demand federal cannabis legalization now. Now more than ever is a time where it should be legalized. For those struggling with mental health problems in the wake of lockdown and quarantine, cannabis legalization could provide many benefits. Furthermore, it could generate taxes in order to aid with fighting the pandemic both on the health and economic fronts. I believe this is an issue that should continue to be pushed.
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