If you’re interested in marijuana laws and legislation, or even if your just familiar with the marijuana sub-culture, you’ve probably heard the terms decriminalization and legalization thrown around quite often. At first glance these two terms may seem precariously similar, but in a legal sense, they have very different meanings, interpretations and implications. I thought it would be interesting to briefly tackle this issue and lay out what it all really means.
You’ll be surprised that you’ve got a few misconceptions about marijuana legalization, and whats even more surprising is how progressive marijuana laws are at a state level in the United States, compared to their neighbors up north in Canada, and their friends in Europe.
Decriminalization of Marijuana
Lets start with decriminalization, a personal favorite, and a method that aims to take the consumer out of criminal justice system. Decriminalization would mean that growing, producing, and distributing would remain illegal at a Federal level, while the private consumer would be exempt of possessing small amounts of marijuana, typically under 1 ounce.
Common Misconceptions about Marijuana Legalization
- Decriminalization has been practiced in the Netherlands for over a decade, and government officials continue to modify and regulate the system, in hopes of finding balance.
- For Canadians, its a misconception that marijuana is decriminalized, as it remains illegal, and the Federal government has actually made punishment for marijuana related offenses more harsh.
Legalization of Marijuana
On that note, legalization would mean that marijuana would be completely legal to produce, grow, and consume amongst the public. No medical marijuana permits would be required. This would most likely lead to commercialization of the marijuana industry, as well as introduction of state taxes, and federal taxes. Marijuana would become as accessible as tobacco and alcohol. No country or legislature has ever put this to practice, and its difficult to perceive the implications and effects of legalizing marijuana fully.
About Ann Flannigan
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