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Make Marijuana Legal By The Next 4/20

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Maybe marijuana legalization and decriminalization would have moved faster by now had the substance not become so closely associated with stoners. Even the term 420 for marijuana apparently originated with high school students meeting at 4;20 p.m. for some toking, meeting at the Louis Pasteur statue. Let the next 4-20/April 20, 2017, be the year that marijuana is legal throughout the land.

Thanks and congratulations to the many marijuana legalization activists who transcended the decades of hurdles and frustrations — and the politicians and other government officials willing to risk joining the effort — to finally get medical marijuana legalized in one form or another in many states, and to legalize and further decriminalize marijuana in numerous states (see another chart here).

By now, with medical marijuana legalized in so many states and legalized in four states for recreational use, we know that marijuana appeals far beyond stereotypical stoners. Its medicinal uses for pain, anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorder come without many of the undesirable side effects of lawfully prescribed medicine. Those who consume marijuana to relax at the end of the day are likely to relax, whereas alcohol so often leads to violence. Marijuana is far from the perceived evil weed of reefer madness.

For me, marijuana legalization is about freedom of choice. I have had not even a drop since 2005, but want alcohol to stay legal because doing otherwise would rob me and society of freedom of choice and turn the government into more of a police state than it already is. The same goes for marijuana. I have not consumed it since before law school (but a handful of times), and have no interest in doing so, but marijuana’s continued criminalization is antithetical to civil liberties, repeatedly gives police an excuse to stop and search people and their possessions on a claim that marijuana odor sensed by police or drug-sniffing dogs provides probable cause to search for it, arrests and prosecutes and sentences and jails people for marijuana use, and, with marijuana convictions, threatens people’s immigration status, military status, and security clearance status.

Free the weed.

1 Comment

  1. Jordan on April 22, 2016 at 11:02 am

    I think there’s a lot of benefits to legalization that the government really should be considering. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.