While Colorado and Washington have already been enjoying the legalization of marijuana for a year now, two additional states have decided that cannabis prohibition should end – Oregon and Alaska. Voters in Washington D.C. have also chosen to legalize the plant.
In both Oregon and Alaska, the law legalizes personal possession, manufacture and sale of marijuana for people 21 years of age and older. People of the states will now be able to freely utilize a plant credited with healing cancer, calming autistic children, reducing seizures, and helping with pain management for countless individuals.
Voters overwhelmingly supported initiatives that supported legalization in these states, and ended jail time or fines supported by our bloated criminal justice system. Although the Federal Drug war has imposed billions on taxpayers to ‘fight’ the war on drugs, Denver, Colorado is ironically enjoying a 14.6% decrease in crime from the same time last year. It is also well known that most ‘cannabis-crimes’ are merely for possession and there is little violence among users.
Although cannabis use for recreation is not for everyone, it is a much safer alternative to alcohol for relaxing and socializing. Many readers can likely compare observations of belligerently drunk friends with their pot-using buddies and notice the difference.
Courthouse News Service reports that Oregon passed its legalization bill with 54% of its voters, while Alaska passed its bill with 52% voter support. In D.C., an overwhelming 69% of voters said “no more” to the arrest and incarceration for possessing and using cannabis, hopefully inspiring other states to follow these sound assessments of a plant that has been demonized for far too long.
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, concerning the passage of Oregon’s initiative, said:
“It’s always an uphill battle to win a marijuana legalization initiative in a year like this, when young people are so much less likely to vote, which makes today’s victory all the sweeter,” he said, “The pace of reform is accelerating, other states are sure to follow, and even Congress is poised to wake from its slumber.”
It isn’t just the young utilizing the healing benefits of cannabis, either. People of all ages are realizing its healing qualities for all manner of disease. One 63 year old man says that he treated his own cancer with homemade cannabis oil, while numerous other studies showcase the anti-cancer benefits of marijuana.
In both Oregon and Alaska, residents will be allowed to possess, and grow all-natural cannabis. According to OregonLive.com, as of July 1, 2015, individuals 21 years of age and older can legally possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana in public places and up to 8 ounces in their own homes. They can also legally grow up to four plants per household.
“The new law gives the Oregon Liquor Control Commission until Jan. 1, 2016[,] to draft rules and implement regulations for production, processing and selling marijuana,” “The measure says the state must begin receiving licensing applications by Jan. 4, 2016. The first batch of licenses should be issued during the first half of 2016.”
In Alaska, the rules will be similar, with individuals over 21 allowed to possess and transport up to 1 ounce of cannabis, and grow up to six plants at home.
Washington, D.C.’s proposal, while scaled back compared to the others, allows for a person over 21 years old to posses up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use and grow up to six cannabis plants in their home. It also allows people to transfer up to one ounce of marijuana to another person, but not sell it.
Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, to CNN has argued:
“With marijuana legal in the federal government’s backyard, it’s going to be increasingly difficult for national politicians to continue ignoring the growing majority of voters who want to end prohibition.”