Michigan Just Legalized Marijuana. Now It’s Time for Congress to End Prohibition Nationwide

On Tuesday, November 6, Michigan became the tenth state to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana after residents voted to approve the ballot measure. Similarly, voters in Missouri and Utah helped pass a move to legalize the sale of medical marijuana, now making 33 states in the country with similar laws.

With Canada recently approving recreational marijuana and the Supreme Court of Mexico ruling against the prohibition on recreational use, the United States is being left behind. But now with Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives, federal legislation legalizing marijuana sale and use for the entire country should be on the Congressional agenda.

After all, marijuana legalization — or at least decriminalization — is about restoring civil rights, undercutting organized crime and unburdening the criminal justice system.

Though U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions openly opposes marijuana legalization, President Trump himself has said he would “probably” sign a bill were it to reach his desk. But that bill has to be drafted and passed on the Hill — and right now, such an outcome is not at all beyond the realm of possibility.

Right now roughly two-thirds of Americans support marijuana legalization, and even a slim majority of Republicans — 53 percent — support the end of prohibition.

Marijuana-related arrests currently account for more than 40 percent of all drug-related arrests in the United States, and a vast majority are for mere possession. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, people of color — despite having roughly the same usage rates as whites — are arrested disproportionately over marijuana: Black Americans are 3.7 times more likely to face arrest.

FBI data shows that, although states are gradually taking it upon themselves to decriminalize and legalize marijuana use, marijuana-related arrests have actually been on the rise across the nation.

One common argument that aims to bolster support for state legalization of marijuana is that doing so deals serious blows to organized crime involving illicit marijuana distribution. However, the opposite is proving to be true: In Colorado, one of the first states to fully embrace recreational marijuana, the black market has been booming. This is because drug cartels are realizing that they can produce and acquire marijuana in states where it is legal, and then smuggle it into states where it is illegal.

These two facts — increasing arrest rates and the unhindered black market — make a compelling case for federal legislation that would put an end to the prohibition of marijuana nationwide. This piecemeal, state-by-state method of decriminalization and legalization is not the solution we need.

Take Action!

Add your name to this Care2 petition and call on our new Congress to make nationwide marijuana legalization part of its agenda for 2019!

With even President Trump indicating his likely support of such a bill, the opportunity is ripe to put a dent in mass incarceration, racist law enforcement practices and organized crime all at once. More than half of the nation has already decriminalized marijuana to some extent — it’s time we, as a country, went all the way.

Concerned about an issue? Want to raise awareness about an injustice? Join your fellow Care2 users by learning how to make your own petition and make your voice heard today!

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

32 comments

Paula A
Paula A4 days ago

Thanks

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Chad A
Chad Anderson6 days ago

Thank you.

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Daniel N
Daniel N7 days ago

Thank you

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Louise R
Louise R11 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Gloria p
Gloria picchetti11 days ago

My family were pioneers, lumber barons, and cops in Michigan. I think about all the photos and newspaper articles with them holding joints and pipes. Can you see a quilting bee with the ladies rolling joints?

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Brian F
Brian F12 days ago

Remove marijuana from the schedule one classification, legalize and control it. Marijuana prohibition has failed.

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Julie D
Julie D12 days ago

Yay! This should be the law of the land everywhere!

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Paula A
Paula A12 days ago

Thank you

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Alea C
Alea C12 days ago

Florida has medical marijuana only, but doctors charge a small fortune to write you a "recommendation" which is only good for 2 months, so most people can't afford it. Insurance will pay for opiates, but not pot, which is absurd.

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beba h
beba h12 days ago

CBD has been a lifesaver for my old dog Buddy. It has given him a new lease on life and opened my mind to the therapeutic applications of cannabis.

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