As I mentioned in “A Silver Lining In The Fight Over Cannabis“, the attack on legal marijuana, by President Trump, may have a silver lining. It is just a matter of whether congress has enough supporters to drive threw legislation, which would eliminate the federal restriction against pot.
Over the last few years, there has been significant growth in the support of marijuana legalization. 26 states, along with the District of Columbia, have at least some form of of legal marijuana, and a total of seven states, along with DC, have more liberal policies regarding pot use. However, recent comments by the Trump administration, and especially by Jeff Sessions, have been very concerning. For instance, on March 16th, Sessions actually said that marijuana was “only slightly less awful” than heroin.
Of course, that is insane. One of the reasons why legalization in various states is moving so slowly is because marijuana is still listed as a schedule one drug, despite the reality of pot use, and its safety, completely contradicting the nature of schedule one drugs. By definition, a schedule one drug has no medical use. And yet, marijuana is prescribed by doctors repeatedly. It is really quite absurd that the government can get away with ignoring its own definitions.
Main Reasons for Legalization
But there are other issues here. Specifically, federal bans on marijuana violate so called “states rights”, certainly violate individual rights, and are destroying the socioeconomic health of the nation.
While states do not have rights, as only people have rights, the constitution grants states a great deal of authority. The Federal government does not have the constitutional authority to regulate drug purchasing, sales, or use. Republicans admit that the federal government has far less authority than states have, when it comes to enacting laws. And yet, they ignore this when it comes to marijuana.
The fifth amendment is probably one of the most important components of the constitution. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of the law. This single provision, within the amendment, states that people are free to do pretty much anything they want, so long as it does not interfere with the life, liberty, or property, of others. Of course, even without the amendment, it is indeed a right to be able to consume any product that you possess. It is also a right to engage in economic transactions with willing parties.
The Seeking Alpha article goes into how to profit from the shift in the political landscape. But we all profit from legal marijuana. Well, maybe the government loses out, but I really do not care about that. It sounds absurd, but the United States has the largest prison population in the industrialized world. According to the ACLU, 52% of all drug arrests in 2010 were for marijuana. From 2001 through 2010, there were 8.2 million marijuana arrests. Furthermore, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 46.4% of prisoners are incarcerated for drug related offenses. Now, I support the full legalization of all drugs, but even a move towards legal marijuana would be a huge improvement.
There are currently two bills that are being passed around the house: H.R. 975 and H.R. 1227. Both of these bills are similar in nature. H.R. 975 has 14 cosponsors, while H.R. 1227 has 6. Support for these bills is bipartisan, but largely comes from members of congress who represent states that have already legalized marijuana. Interestingly enough, a lot of prominent figures have yet to even give the bills notice. Bernie Sanders, for example, who spends most of his time incorrectly demanding that health care is a right, and wants to force people to pay for other peoples’ goods and services, is unwilling to sign onto a bill that would have one of the largest impacts on improving socioeconomic conditions in the United States, especially among disadvantaged populations.
There is absolutely no reason for marijuana to be listed as a schedule one drug. Its current use as a medicine, totally contradicts the definition of such a drug. Furthermore, regardless of how safe, or how dangerous, marijuana is, people have a right to be able to buy it from a willing seller, sell it to a willing buyer, and to use it. And finally, the socioeconomic toll of restricting marijuana exchange and use has been devastating. Hopefully the insane comments by the likes of Sessions will spur congress to act. Because they can no longer sit on the sidelines and hope that states will simply do their job by ignoring unjust and unconstitutional federal law.
Whether the desire is to make money from marjiuana stocks, push for individual rights, improve socioeconomic conditions, or all of the above, now more than ever we need to push congress to act. They can no longer sit on the sidelines, hoping for states to do what they should have done a long time ago. And we cannot afford to stay silent either.