Nick Hamilton | United States
As many Americans know, today is April 20th, otherwise known as “420.” Today, marijuana advocates around the country come together to celebrate this plant, whether it’s legal in their state or not.
People have demanded the legalization of weed for a long time now, however, our federal & state governments simply won’t budge. That hasn’t stopped Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and– get this– WASHINGTON DC from legalizing the plant. New York is considering legalization, and an overwhelming majority of states have legalized it for at least medical use. As of now, the only states who still prohibit marijuana on all levels are Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Idaho. However, there’s a huge push to get the plant legal for all uses nationwide.
In Bexar County, which covers the San Antonio area in Texas, there has been a cite and release program to help prevent people with a small amount of weed from getting jail time. However, on February 10th, 2018, a group known as “Open Carry Walks” organized an open carry walk in San Antonio to fight for the right to carry marijuana openly in public. Not only that, but in 2017, a campaign known as the Global Marijuana March set up marches in eight different Texas cities: Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, Amarillo, San Antonio, Houston, Lubbock, and the capital city, Austin. Texas is a medical marijuana state, but only 15 doctors in the state are allowed to prescribe it, so it’s very difficult to obtain.
Legalization has proved to be very effective for the good in states like Colorado.
Colorado raked in $76M in revenue in their first year of legalization and used $35M to fund their education system. In 2015, that revenue increased to $135M. In Washington, $83M was made in revenue off of weed in the first year, and in 2017, $230M was made off the plant by the government. But “weed is bad,” am I right?
Putting money aside, an unexpected result of legalization was that in 2014, according to the American Journal of Public Health, Colorado saw a 6.5 percent DECREASE in opioid deaths, a trend that had been increasing for fourteen years straight. In the US today, we’re trying to fight opioid addiction. I smell some hypocrisy there.
So on 4/20, remember, our work is not done. Our duty to make the United States a marijuana welcoming nation is not done yet. Work doesn’t stop until it’s not illegal to possess this plant that can make this country money, especially after that atrocity of a budget passed just four weeks ago to this day. Enjoy 4/20, everyone!
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