US Opts To Not Sue States For Legalization Of Marijuana
Marijuana supporters won’t another landmark victory in the fight towards fully legalizing marijuana. Recently the United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced that federal finances and manpower would not be used to go after states that legalize marijuana. What this means is that the Federal Government is officially in hands off mode regarding the two states in our union that have fully legalized marijuana. Not only will they not send agents to states that have legalized the drug but they will not pursue any lawsuits against them.
All of this is rather new to most Americans, for the last seventy years marijuana has been treated in a singular fashion by the United States Government. It has been treated as an evil substance that corrupts youth and debilitates the populace by making us all lazy and or violent. To witness one of the top government positions in the land announce that he essentially feels that marijuana isn’t worth the governments time is exhilarating. Still it begs the question, what changed? Why has the government done such a profound about face on a substance they once considered so heinous and vile? Throughout the article I hope to establish some insight into the history of marijuana and how we have gotten where we are now.
Almost one hundred years ago marijuana was targeted by a group of three mega companies that feared they would lose business to a possible Hemp industry. Using a mix of straight out film propaganda and yellow journalism, these companies successfully establish an evil and deadly image for marijuana. Soon thereafter legislation was introduced to ban the plant outright and label any user a criminal. In those early days little, if anything, was actually known about the effects of marijuana on human beings. It was thought to cause paranoid delusions, violent outbursts, and even suicidal depression. Yet these theories were based in absolutely nothing scientific, they were simply conjecture. Still by the time the public was aware that the Government had no concrete evidence to support its claims it was simply too late.
For decades advocates of marijuana have protested the outlawing of the plant in many ways. This movement gained momentum from every corner of the American populace. Supporters of the plant often argued that at the very least marijuana deserved to be researched for possible uses in medicine. Sooner rather than later reports began appearing that demonstrated positive benefits to marijuana use, especially for cancer patients. The supporters seized on this research and announced the finding at every turn. Still the marijuana movement remained, for most intents and purposes, frozen until the last two decades or so.
When the new millennium arrived a new sense of hope was in the minds of marijuana supporters. They hoped that this new millennium would be their time for victory. While they haven’t exactly won yet they have been establishing key victories in several regions throughout the United States. Indeed the work of thousands of protesters over several decades has proven invaluable for the movement. In fact many states began legalizing marijuana for medical usage, and two states outright legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
Still with all of this success issues are bound to arise. Indeed issues did begin to pop up, the biggest issue being the Federal Government. For years California, Colorado, and many other states dealt with countless Federal raids on business that were operating within complete legality on the state level. This created a two sided world for those that entered the business of producing and distributing marijuana. On one side the State was telling the businesses that everything was alright as the state had created a legal environment for them to operate. Yet on the other side of the fence was the Federal Government, which began aggressively pursuing marijuana and those that cultivated the plant. This went on for years until the Obama Administration came into office. While Obama has not been as liberal and understanding of marijuana as one would expect his attorney general has. Eric Holder has consistently weakened the grips which the Federal Government relies upon to go after users of marijuana. His recent move paves the way for more States to possibly implement medical or legal marijuana laws and regulations.
This is honestly rather refreshing as I have grown used to a policy of closed minded ignorance regarding anything nontraditional, at least where the government is concerned. To see them allowing states to actually have rights is astonishing. In effect we are actually beginning to resemble the America of our past. An America in which theories are tested and either proven or disproven instead of simply ignored and tossed aside. As a witness to these events I am truly honored to be alive during these times.
Eduardo Dieguez is a professional blogger for Rue, Ziffra & Caldwell. He is a 1st generation American born Cuban that is currently in pursuit of his AA Degree at Valencia CC.
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