Legalization 2020: New States Legalize and Decriminalize Weed
While some people don’t want to believe the results of the election, there is a growing consensus across party lines about one topic: it’s time to stop the War on Drugs. The fateful “war,” dating back all the way to the Reagan Administration, not only broke up families and ruined lives, but it also completely failed. People still use drugs, and many states proudly declared that they’re fine with it.
As with every presidential election, the “down ballot” races are often more interesting or more indicative of American society than choosing the president. Last Tuesday, American voters across the country chose to legalize cannabis, decriminalize possession, and, in the case of Oregon, allow the use of medical psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms.
Decriminalized Possession and Medical Legalization
There are stages or different approaches to legalization, from decriminalizing possession (basically you can’t get charged if you have a certain amount on your person) all the way to legalized recreational use. Two states made precious first steps toward legalization. South Dakota decriminalized cannabis possession while Mississippi legalized it for medical use. The latter is a real victory because the Governor of Mississippi actively campaigned against the motion and even had a last-ditch effort to convince voters otherwise.
South Dakota not only decriminalized possession but also joined the ranks of states who legalized recreational use. The Mount Rushmore State was one of four states to legalize recreational use, along with Arizona, Montana and New Jersey. Now, one-in-three Americans live in a place that allows legal recreational use of cannabis.
The Rise in Medical Psilocybin
Perhaps even more exciting than the growing “green wave” of cannabis legalization is the choice Oregon residents chose on their ballots: to start allowing the use of psilocybin for medical use. Since the sixties, many mental health experts have been documenting the positive benefits of psychedelics, like LSD and magic mushrooms, in therapy. Micro-dosing has become popular in Silicon Valley, and thousands of people a year head to South America for ayahuasca.
Now, residents in Oregon will have access to psilocybin in licensed facilities for mental health uses. The drug has been found to help people quit smoking, battle depression, and treat PTSD.
If this wasn’t already enough, Washington, DC made a major decision in decriminalizing possession for magic mushrooms. As mentioned above, these are the baby steps towards other legalization efforts. While Washington, DC hasn’t gone as far as Oregon, this is another major loss for the War on Drugs.
Why this Matters
Widespread legalization efforts are not only the result of hard work but part of a larger understanding that humanity’s relationship to drugs is more complex than “bad” or “good.” Even more importantly, the War on Drugs has led to mass incarceration of non-violent offenders, disenfranchisement of communities, and has ruined lives. Now, America has started the good work of letting the people decide.
If you live in South Dakota, Arizona, Montana, or New Jersey, we say roll one up, have a smoke, and celebrate. It’s 4:20 somewhere! Follow this link to know more.