Cannabis prohibition is now 75 years old. Will it ever end?
The great failed social experiment of alcohol prohibition instituted in the 1920s lasted barely a dozen years. It took a constitutional amendment (the 18th) to ban alcohol products, and another one (the 21st) to restore them to the free market. Was there a similar constitutional amendment that outlawed cannabis products in 1937?
But that’s how the hypocrisy and duplicity of cannabis prohibition was given life. America’s modern policy of vilifying, arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating cannabis consumers, cultivators, and marketers is now firmly entrenched. However, based on public-opinion surveys and focus groups, three-quarters of the American public strongly supports “soft” reforms, such as medical access and decriminalization of small amounts for personal use.
According to Gallup polls, 50 percent of Americans now want cannabis legally controlled in a manner similar to alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals. Moreover, the federal government can proffer no data or statistics indicating that its war on cannabis consumers has had any meaningful success whatsoever (except for turning them into convicted criminals). Virtually every governmental commission has recommended that, at a minimum, the possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal adult use should be decriminalized.
Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia have decided to abandon the federal government’s scientifically absurd and inhumane prohibition on people using cannabis therapeutically with a physician’s recommendation. Additionally, 14 states and numerous large municipalities have rejected the federal government’s blanket prohibition on cannabis and decriminalized possession.
On Election Day, the voting public will once again have the opportunity to put serious political and economic pressure on Congress and the executive branch to end the national prohibition of cannabis. But will Congress ever actually hold preliminary hearings to finally start the process of reforming the federal government’s cannabis policies, no matter which political party assumes control or which candidate is elected president?
That being the case, can cannabis prohibition continue to prevail in a free-market-oriented democracy like America, where approximately one in eight citizens is deemed a “criminal” by their own government because of their cannabis use?
Even the DEA’s own chief administrative-law judge has ruled that, “in strict medical terms, marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”
Reefer madness continues to afflict US politicians, but lawmakers in Europe, Central America, and South America are expressing severe frustration with our country’s failed cannabis policies and law-enforcement priorities. Currently, as many as eight countries in the Americas are seeking to legalize cannabis in defiance of the United States.
Which brings us to another question: Can the cannabis plant legalize itself?
But through our efforts, we can all help to legalize this remarkable, utilitarian, affordable, and eminently safe plant. For starters, don’t vote for any politician who wants to continue with another 75 years of cannabis prohibition. Get involved in your own liberation.
If we work in concert, can we end cannabis prohibition in our lifetime?