9 US states set to vote on legalization of marijuana
Ever since the states of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington have legalized the use of recreational marijuana, others have tried to follow suit.
In hopes the federal government will eventually lift its nationwide ban against the use of cannabis, nine states in the US will vote for its legalization next month.
The states of Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada will decide on legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, while Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota will weigh in on allowing its medical use.
According to a Pew study as reported by NBC News, 57 percent of US adults agreed that marijuana should be made legal—compared to just 32 percent a decade ago.
The shift in attitude is reportedly attributed to the successes of its legalization in Colorado and Washington in 2014.
“There’s nothing more powerful when you’re trying to effect social change than having examples out there that are actually working,” Keith Stroup, founder and legal counsel at the nonprofit National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), was quoted as saying in the report.
The marijuana advocate added that the detractors’ fear of legalizing pot “simply haven’t materialized” and cited records from other states.
“They can’t really make those arguments effectively today because we have more than two years of a track record in Colorado and Washington,” he said.
A group called Citizens against Legalizing Marijuana, however, dispelled NORML’s claims and stressed marijuana’s possible effect on the youth.
“The increase of kids’ use has gone up dramatically,” she said. “Many of those kids get into drugs, gangs and crime. The social costs have been identified,” she said.
Despite the leniency of marijuana laws in recent years, cannabis usage still has a long way to go before it’s accepted at the federal level.
Just last week, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) refused to change marijuana’s classification from Schedule I—the most restricted drug class, which includes heroin, LSD and ecstasy—to a category with fewer restrictions. Khristian Ibarrola
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