Only a few years ago, politicians called marijuana a scourge on society and something that had to be wiped out. But in the recent past, the conversation suddenly seems to have changed. All of a sudden states across the country are moving towards legalization and cannabis dispensaries are popping up all over the place. What’s going on? Why the sudden change of heart?
Why Legalize Now?
What is so horrible about all this is the lives that have already been ruined by drug crime conviction. Millions of people have been filtered through the justice system for possession and trafficking of cannabis, a drug that is on the cusp of becoming legal in many places in the country. Whereas just a few years ago, being caught using or selling the drug could result in a lengthy prison sentence and the end of one’s career, now it’s a perfectly acceptable part of life and something that people have a right to enjoy.
According to legalization advocates and experts, there isn’t just one thing that has led states to embrace cannabis. It’s come down to several factors. Perhaps the most important is President Trump’s reversal of many of the Obama-era federal laws which threatened to prosecute states if they dared to try to enact their own drug laws. But part of the story also has to do with shifting public opinion. Because so many people have now experimented with the drug, there is a mass-scale change in attitudes with many more people advocating the medical benefits of the cannabis plant.
New Cannabis Products Eliminate The “High”
Those medical benefits aren’t without justification. Cannabis contains a chemical called CBD. The exciting thing about CBD is that it doesn’t produce any psychotropic effects. You can’t get high on CBD. Instead, it binds to cannabinoid receptor sites in people’s brains and appears to have semi-miraculous effects, such as reducing chronic pain and anxiety and producing feelings of wellbeing. What’s more, you can grow cannabis plants that do not contain any psychoactive compounds at all, so the notion that you must get high if you take cannabis is painfully outdated.
Among Democrats, support for the legalization of marijuana is currently running at 72 percent, according to a Gallup poll reported by the Washington Post. Among Republicans, it’s 51 percent, implying overall support for legalization among all Americans at 64 percent. That’s a dramatic change from just a few years ago, with even the majority of Republicans now embracing the legalization trend.
Opposition To Legalization
There is still lobbying opposition to these legalization efforts. Many advocacy groups dislike marijuana because they see it as a primary cause of the nation’s opioid crisis. People begin by using cannabis, they argue, and then get involved in social circles where it is all too easy to move onto different types of drugs. The new laws, however, should make it easier for people to obtain pure cannabis products from legitimate sources, negating the need to interact with questionable characters who want to upsell people on harder drugs.
Whatever happens, things are moving at a fast pace, with many of the states that Trump won leading the charge.