Cannabis reform has been a hot topic in the United States for many years. With an increasing number of Americans support for cannabis reform, its legalization for both medicinal and recreational use. Over the last decade, there has been a significant shift in public opinion towards cannabis. And this has been reflected in the changing policies of state and federal governments.
In this article, we will explore America’s support for cannabis reform, including its history, current state, and future outlook.
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for thousands of years. However, in the early 20th century, a wave of anti-cannabis sentiment swept across the United States. This led to the introduction of the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937, which effectively criminalized the possession and sale of cannabis. Over the years, this law was strengthened, and by the 1980s, the so-called War on Drugs was in full swing, with cannabis being a prime target.
Despite the efforts of anti-cannabis advocates, the public’s perception of cannabis began to change in the 1990s, when California became the first state to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. Since then, more than 30 states have followed suit, with many legalizing cannabis for recreational use as well.
Current State of Cannabis Reform
Currently, cannabis is legal for medicinal use in 36 states and the District of Columbia, and for recreational use in 15 states and the District of Columbia. However, at the federal level, cannabis remains illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, which classifies it as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD.
Despite this federal prohibition, there have been signs of progress towards cannabis reform at the federal level. In 2018, the Farm Bill legalized hemp, a strain of cannabis with low levels of THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis), opening up new opportunities for research and commercialization. In 2020, the House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, expunge certain cannabis-related criminal records, and establish a trust fund to support communities most affected by the War on Drugs.
The future of cannabis reform in the United States is difficult to predict, but it seems likely that the trend towards legalization will continue. As more states legalize cannabis, pressure will mount on the federal government to reconsider its stance. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that cannabis has medicinal benefits, particularly in the treatment of chronic pain and certain neurological disorders. As this evidence continues to accumulate, it may become increasingly difficult for policymakers to justify keeping cannabis illegal.
America’s support for cannabis reform has come a long way since the days of Reefer Madness. While cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, there has been significant progress at the state level, with more and more states legalizing cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use. With growing evidence of its medicinal benefits and shifting public attitudes towards cannabis. It seems likely that the trend towards legalization will continue, and that the federal government will eventually have to reconsider its stance on this controversial plant.