As the year comes to an end, progressivism sweeps through the United States. States across the country have pledged to take a stance to secure liberty for future generations. Their goal? To bring back and instill civil liberties for all citizens.
A major tenet of the rising Libertarian Party is the legalization of marijuana. A situation that libertarian leader and former governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson promised would end the war on drugs with Mexico, lower arrests by 40 percent, reduce violence and provide the federal government with a sustainable new source of tax revenue.
The U.S. has a history of marijuana legalization. California, for decades, has been more marijuana-friendly then the cannabis capital of the world, Amsterdam. Yet, state legislation over the last few years has made even the possession of a single gram of marijuana extremely punishable. A once-thriving business, the sale of both medical and recreational marijuana has declined in California, as the federal government cracks down on our individual freedom of choice. In the Netherlands, while citizens are legally allowed to possess cannabis, only five grams can be sold to a non-foreign adult at any given time.
After the recent election, Marijuana has a new face in the U.S.. Three states voted whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana. Two states, Colorado and Washington, voted in favor of the substance. In addition, the people of Massachusetts voted in favor of medical marijuana.
In Colorado and Washington, adults 21 and up may purchase up to an ounce of Marijuana from specialty stores regulated by a special division. The new laws will take affect by December 6th in Washington, and no later than December 23 in Colorado. Purchases made in Colorado will be taxed 15 percent with revenue going to public schools. In Washington, purchases will be taxed 25 percent with revenue going to public health programs. Both states also anticipate savings from not having to convict ingenuous marijuana users and growers.
A Gallup poll conducted late last year reported that 50% of Americans believe the use of marijuana should be made legal. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, marijuana is less harmful than legal and widely used drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. In addition, marijuana provides medical benefits to cancer and AIDS patients. Despite staunch support for marijuana consumption, the federal government still considers the plant illegal, and owners subject to a criminal offense even in Colorado and Washington.
Yet, many people fear that due to the current administration’s opposition to this legislative victory, the national government will ruthlessly prevent the use of marijuana in the newly approved states.
As citizens of the ‘free world,’ we must work together to promote freedom for all, and prevent the deconstruction of liberty that has been tearing this nation at the seams. When legislation such as the legalization of marijuana arises, we must take the initiative and do our civic duty by voting in favor of individual responsibility and independence.