Tag: legalize it

2019 Is the Year to Legalize Marijuana

Nick Hamilton | United States

As 2017 drew to a close, I wrote a piece on why 2018 was the year that marijuana legalization should become popular. Though there is still a long way to go, many locations took this to heart. Canada decided to fully legalize the plant, and several more states in the United States followed. But as of right now, it’s still federally illegal.

Three states legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2018: Michigan, Vermont, and Maine. This past midterm election, North Dakota voted on a referendum that would have legalized it, but the vote failed. Oklahoma also legalized it for medical use. Moreover, in December of 2018, President Trump signed the Farm Bill into law, which passed in both chambers of Congress easily. The Farm Bill allows American farmers to grow and harvest hemp.

Marijuana is now legal for recreational use in ten states and legal for medical use in 33 states. Presumed Democrat Presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-CA) said that she believes it’s time to legalize and regulate marijuana federally. In her new book, “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” Harris asserts multiple times that America needs to fully legalize marijuana for all uses and erase marijuana-related convictions from people’s criminal records.

Americans Want to Legalize Marijuana

With the 2020 election cycle starting to heat up, I expect that marijuana legalization will soon be a critical issue on both sides of the aisle. According to Pew Research Center, 62% of Americans favor legalization, up 31% from 2000. Additionally, 54% of Boomers (1946-1954) support it, showing a drastic increase from around 15% in the 1990s. Even some Republicans are starting to make legalization concessions. 45% of Republicans support legalization, as do 59% of Republican-leaning independents.

It’s absolutely clear the Americans want legalization. It’s clear that if marijuana is not federally legal in the coming years, our government is doing something very wrong. President Trump has been surprisingly open to the idea, making a commitment to push for reform of marijuana laws, with a goal of having medical marijuana federally legal. If he accomplishes this, he will have done more to legalize the plant than any previous administration.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see New York state legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2019, considering that New York City has thrown around the idea. A lot of the more liberal states could absolutely follow suit soon. However, in order to do so in every state, marijuana activists need to continue persuading more Republicans to get behind the movement.

Seeing as marijuana legalization could be a hot topic of the 2020 Presidential Campaign, it wouldn’t be crazy to say that more states will lift bans. I’m predicting that four states legalize recreational marijuana this year: New York and three others.


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The U.S. Stance on Marijuana Is Contradictory

William Ramage | United States

Multiple nations around the world are shifting towards marijuana-friendly policies. However, the United States has remained highly conservative on the issue. Despite numerous breakthroughs in the medical use of marijuana, the majority of the United States has yet to legalize any form of cannabis. Given this steadfast view on marijuana, why does the United States take such a liberal approach to alcohol?

The Alcohol Comparison

Alcoholism, drunk driving, and alcohol poisoning contribute to 88,000 annual alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. Alcohol is the third highest cause of preventable death in America, falling short to tobacco use and physical inactivity. On a global perspective, alcohol-related deaths account for 5.9% of total deaths.

In spite of this, modern society has normalized the use an abuse of alcohol. As a result, it often overlooks these looming problems. This normalization of alcohol is a result of alcohol use being prevalent throughout the majority of human history; we are simply used to it and have grown accustomed to it. In the early days of our republic, there was an effort to outlaw alcohol.

The Temperance Movement came from alcohol plaguing the common man. In fact, many would spend far too much of their wages on liquor. This negatively impacted his family and resulted in many inter-familial tensions. The movement was mildly successful but eventually died out completely.

Present day marijuana resistance, on the other hand, is essentially an unorganized, government-led temperance movement. It is preventing the population of our “free” country from using it medically and recreationally without a specific reason to ban it. In fact, a nationwide legalization of marijuana would be beneficial on various levels, far more so than alcohol is.

Marijuana and Medical Benefit

Marijuana has many health benefits, including being an effective painkiller. Cannabis can absolutely be an addictive substance. However, addiction is fairly uncommon and less dangerous, especially compared to opiates like morphine and codeine. These drugs, though, are legal in the United States for medical use. One can very easily overdose to the point of death from using these opioids, while it is impossible to do so from marijuana.

A number of studies have shown that marijuana use helps to curb vomiting and nausea in chemotherapy patients. The government should not be preventing these patients from receiving the treatment they need; it is unfair and the benefits greatly exceed the minor risks. There is also some evidence that suggests marijuana can target cancer cells without harming normal ones.

If applied on a national level, medical marijuana could cause a breakthrough in cancer research. Marijuana is a very low-risk drug, far more so than many legal ones. America’s decision to legalize cannabis in all forms is long overdue, and its strict policy on it is incredibly contradictory, given the legal status of other drugs, both recreational and medical.  


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These 4 States Could Legalize Marijuana this November

Dane Larsen | @therealdanelars

November 6th marks a turning point in the United States, as the elections will determine which party holds the majority in Congress for the next two years. What many people do not understand, however, is that voting for candidates to represent them will not be the only thing that occurs next Tuesday in booths across the county.

After voting on specific state and national Congressmen and Congresswomen, an alternate section in the voting booth will ask questions pertaining to major issues in the respective state, by voting on initiated state statutes. On the ballots for 2018, four states will mention either the legalization of recreational and/or medicinal marijuana. Among those four states are Missouri, Michigan, Utah, and North Dakota. These states are taking the initiative that we have seen in many other regions across the country.

Marijuana — Side Effects & Consequences

Missouri

Missouri is the most radical of the four, laying out a 54th section to Article IV of the state Constitution. The proposal would make amendments as follow:

“Cannabis shall immediately be removed from the Missouri list of controlled substances”.

“Remove state prohibitions on the possession, growth and sale of marijuana for personal or medical use by anyone 18 years and older.”

“Anyone under the age of 18 shall have access to cannabis through physician recommendation or consent from legal parent/guardian”.

“All prisoners who have been incarcerated for non-violent, cannabis-related crimes shall be released within 30 days, unless time remains on the sentence for another dissimilar offense”.

Under Amendments Nine and Ten of the US Constitution, Missouri will reserve its right to nullify any federal laws conflicting with this act. The state will also prohibit any state funds to be used to assist in DEA or any other federal agencies in marijuana offense enforcement.

Michigan

With Michigan’s Proposal 1, the state would become the first state in the Midwest to legalize the possession and use of recreational marijuana for citizens aged 21 and over. The motion would set a state-mandated tax on cannabis products with a 10% tax, to eliminate incentive to buy the products. “Revenue from the tax would be allocated to local governments, K-12 education, and road and bridge maintenance”.

The other side of this Proposal allocates the full responsibility of their actions to the pot users and growers, allowing the citizens of Michigan to grow up to twelve plants on their respective property unless municipalities restrict marijuana institutions in their jurisdiction. Marijuana-related charges will be decriminalized for future cases, and cases with offenders currently serving time may be overturned on a case to case basis.

Utah

The culture around Utah has a different outlook on legalizing all cannabis, like the cases in Michigan and Missouri. Most prominently, the progressive political action committees are lobbying for the legalization, while the protruding Church of Latter Day Saints suggests otherwise. Proposition 2 this November pledges to legalize medicinal marijuana for specific situations with the necessary conditions. Licensed physicians would be able to give out medical cards for marijuana products with guidelines and restrictions on use of said products.

Approved individuals are permitted to buy at most two ounces of unprocessed marijuana and/or a cannabis-based product with no more than ten ounces of THC included. The restrictions get even more limited, with absolutely no permission to smoke these products. Proposition 2 also will levy high business costs for the institutions creating the products, but alternatively spare marijuana from local and state sales taxes.

North Dakota

After trying to get this statue, or ones like it on the ballots for the past three election cycles, North Dakota finally has landed a position for ‘Measure 3, Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative’ for the 2018 Midterms. This option on the ballot was created to legalize all the uses of cannabis in the state of North Dakota, whether for medicinal or recreational reasons. This would be true for any citizens aged 21 and over, with lobbied penalties for offenders caught using or abusing marijuana products who are under the age of 21.

Furthermore, the state of North Dakota will turn to the elimination of criminal records for people sentenced to jail time because of marijuana-related crimes. People arrested with counts of possession or were caught dealing will reserve their rights under Measure 3 to a speedy trial in order to pardon them out of the prison system.


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Does the Two Party System Make Any Sense?

Nate Galt | United States

Many Americans of different backgrounds have been disillusioned by the current political system. There are only two major parties—the Democratic and Republican. All other parties have no means of competing with either and will not be able to break their congressional duopoly in the near future. A significant portion of American voters believes that there are fundamental differences between the two parties. Some view the Democrats as extreme leftists and the Republicans as ultra-capitalists. Others view Democrats as “left” while saying that Republicans are “right-leaning.”

The two parties do disagree on several key stances such as abortion rights and gun control. However, there is one common trend between all major parties’ and their elected officials’ stances: authoritarianism. Despite their mildly differing stances, Republicans and Democrats still agree on the very things that are ruining America’s economy, limiting freedom, and wasting taxpayer dollars. For almost two centuries, both parties have backed the United States’s intervention into foreign conflicts, revolutions, and affairs. Since the country’s founding, it has been at war almost 94 percent of the time that it has existed. Both sides have accepted the Monroe Doctrine as a justification for their involvement in scores of foreign conflicts, such as in the Philippines, the Russian Revolution, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, and the Iranian Revolution. The US has also intervened in numerous Latin and South American wars.

Both sides almost unanimously backed the USA PATRIOT Act and unconstitutional spying by the National Security Agency. Several prominent figures in the Republican Party, namely President Donald J. Trump, have called for the criminalization of flag burning and for banning protests during the National Anthem. These figures claim to stand for “liberty,” yet wish to outlaw protest, contrary to the First Amendment. Those positions are not synonymous with supporting maximum personal freedom. Conservative Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito believed that police should have the right to search automobiles on private property without a warrant. According to some people, Justice Alito is a “constitutionalist.” A constitutionalist cannot support a clear and evident violation of your right against warrantless searches guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

Many Republican voters believe that by voting for all the candidates with the letter “R” next to their name on the ballot, they are advancing personal freedom. They point to several Democrats’ anti-gun stances, saying that their positions are the reason that they vote Republican. The president who suggested that he “take the guns first and go through due process second” is not a Democrat. Wanting to strip citizens of their gun rights is approved by both parties.

The War on Drugs is still backed by both the Republicans and the Democrats. It has ruined hundreds of thousands of lives and has thrown many thousands more behind bars for decades-long sentences. The parties may seem to have their differences, but they are trivial. They all agree with policies that will line the pockets of the corrupt Washington elite and measures that will limit Americans’ personal freedom.

A party that supports gun control is not synonymous with liberty; neither is its rival party, which seeks to keep marijuana possession and use illegal and wants to prevent people from protesting a flag.

Neither party will advance individual freedom for the average American. The one thing that they will promote, however, is their own interest.


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Elon Musk, Thank You For Smoking A Blunt

By Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg

Elon Musk, thank you. You didn’t have to smoke a tobacco and cannabis mixed blunt with Joe Rogan on what amounts to live national television, but you did, and as a recreational pot smoker, I thank you. In one Bill Clinton-esque inhale, Musk did more for the normalization of recreational marijuana use than decades of failed congressional lobbying and polite rhetoric from the aristocratic class of America’s ruling society.

Let’s be honest, cannabis is not a dangerous drug. It’s a plant that grows naturally across the entirety of planet earth. Marijuana, reefer, weed, smoke, chronic, ganja, grass, herb, pot, and dope are not dangerous drugs either. They are the loving terms of endearment for a plant that relieves the pain and stress of more than 230 million people worldwide. Smoking or ingesting cannabis is a completely non-violent crime. The federal prohibition of it throughout the United States remains a lasting scar on the ideas of liberty and freedom that our founders fought so eagerly to establish and preserve.

With a whiskey in one hand and a dubious smirk on his face, Musk asked if pot was legal in California before taking one small puff for man and one giant rip for marijuana mankind. It was a moment that crystallizes Musk as a sort of Steve Jobs 2.0: a risk taker willing to think and act beyond the petty and insignificant grasp of shareholders, dividends and acceptable business decorum alike. He didn’t smoke to get high – he smoked to prove a point.

That point is strikingly clear – cannabis is a mild stress reliever of no harm to anyone and it’s about time we start treating it that way. Rogan has been doing this for years on his podcast. In fact, when I first heard that Musk was going to be on Rogan, my first thought was if Musk would venture to smoke with the podcasting giant. Although Fox News and CNBC were clutching their pearls as the morning bell saw Tesla shares drop 20%, I couldn’t help but feel the sort of pride that only comes from witnessing a truly revolutionary act.

The pundits in the media didn’t think too much of Musk’s blunt rap. Neither did two of Musk’s top executives who jumped ship on Friday morning as the share price of Tesla spiraled downward. Musk admitted during the interview that he has only smoked marijuana a few times in his life. So why was he lighting up with Rogan? The inherent beauty of Musk’s pot smoking is that the CEO knew his stock price would shutter the next morning but he decided to act in accordance with his own ethics of free will and decency. In the hyper-corporate tech world that often seems as if it’s treading across an ever-present veneer of polite progressive politicking, Musk lighting up with Rogan feels like a singularly rebellious act.

While Musk’s unrepentant and unapologetic attitude has gained him an adoring, cult-like fans, smoking weed with Rogan was the culmination of a summer-long PR nightmare for institutional investors. With a three-month tour de force that included a promise to take Tesla private for $420 a share, mudslinging gossip with rapper Azealia Banks and juvenile allegations of pedophilia against a Thailand cave diver, Musk has successfully tanked the value of Tesla. Questions still linger regarding production and management within the futuristic hi-tech company.

Across the country, Americans are hounded and harassed daily by an overpowering police state still treats the plant with the same ‘reefer madness’ disdain of their grandparents’ generation. In many areas of the country, possessing as little as a gram of the plant can have serious legal ramifications including jail time, loss of job, loss of driver’s license and the heavy economic burden placed on defendants in a for-profit court system.

The road to marijuana legalization in the United States has been a long and winding one that has seen constant, malignant abuses at the hands of federal and state governments alike. While Musk’s tight-lipped puff is only a minor blip on the timeline, it serves to paint an intimate portrait of the work that has been done to normalize its consumption. Often maligned, criticized, and joked about, Musk put his reputation on the line for a group of people that he owes no allegiance and in doing so showed his commitment to freedom and liberty.

For that, Elon Musk, I would like to say thank you.


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Featured Image: Joe Rogan Experience