Almost everybody has either tried marijuana in their lifetime or knows somebody who has. Whether it be from a party, or to help with chronic pain or illness, it’s a fairly common plant to find and use. It’s also safe to say that the majority of people who do enjoy cannabis consumption are completely harmless or even upstanding members of their community. So why is it so illegal?
Previous New Jersey Superior Court judge and current analyst for Fox News, Andrew Napolitano had some thoughts on the matter. The New York Times put out a post stating “It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol…”
The Fox News analyst strongly believes that the federal government should never through any policy attempt to affect individual, personal behavior. He states that if marijuana is going to be regulated, it should be solely up to the states to decide how and why that would happen. His reasoning is simple. The states are each individually authorized under their own constitutions to regulate the health, safety, welfare, and morality of its citizens, while the federal government is not.
So far, even though marijuana is still an illegal Schedule 1 drug under federal law. fifteen states, DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico have decided to legalize it for both recreational and medical use anyway. In addition to those 15 states, there are another 21 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use only, and each of these states has its own laws on how much citizens can purchase, where to use, and how to grow.
For example, adults in Colorado can possess up to one ounce of marijuana and can grow up to six plants at home. Oregon residents can keep up to eight ounces of marijuana, and four plants in their home, Plus they can have up to an ounce on them while in public. Main residents can have up to 2.5 ounces, including up to 5 grams of concentrate, and they can have 12 plants total in their home but only 6 can be flowering at a time. South Dakota recently passed a constitutional Amendment allowing their residents who are over 21 to both possess and distribute up to one ounce of cannabis at a time.
Around two-thirds of American adults support legalization and the positive effects of it are astounding. Between new revenue for the states to use, and positive health effects it really should be a no-brainer. There is still a ways to go before it becomes legal on a federal level. But in the meantime, whatever your views may be, Andrew Napolitano says the easiest thing to do is “vote with your feet” and live where you’re comfortable.