Several days ago in my Facebook newsfeed I saw a photo of a most unlikely pair, right-wing Christian evangelist Pat Robertson and left-wing comedian Bill Maher. The caption superimposed onto the photo read: What do Bill Maher, Pat Robertson, and most Americans agree on? It’s time to legalize marijuana.”
It’s true that for the first time since the cannabis plant was made illegal in 1937, according to recent Gallop polls, a record-high majority of Americans (50 percent) now support the complete legalization of this botanical mischief maker, and a full 86 percent support its medical use.
Despite the U.S. government’s stubborn and draconian policy on marijuana, cannabis legalization supporters are now the majority.
This powerful collective voice was demonstrated in the recent elections, when Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for recreational use.
A record number of people--about 125 million to 203 million--around the world now use cannabis, and support for its legalization has never been higher, as, hands down, cannabis users are the single most persecuted minority on the planet.
Nonetheless, more and more truthful information about the herb’s safety and accurate information about its medical properties are replacing years of government propaganda, and scientific discoveries about the newly discovered medical properties of cannabis are frequently make the headlines.
It seems that that long-awaited end of cannabis prohibition is finally within sight. If we were living in a true democracy, instead of representative government, cannabis would be legal in America today.
The “War on Drugs,” which now appears to be politically or racially motivated--to even the dullest of minds--has largely been a war on marijuana users and growers, especially those who are of African or hispanic descent, and the Drug Enforcement Agency has systematically attempted to block any scientific studies on cannabis that demonstrate the herb’s safety or medical merit.
Despite the findings from three government investigations into the safety, dangers, and medical efficacy of cannabis--which demonstrated that cannabis represents no health threat and has valuable medical benefits--every occupant of the Oval Office since Richard Nixon (with the exception of Jimmy Carter) has ignored these findings, and has sought to increase legal penalties for cannabis users.
As a result, America has now imprisoned more of its own citizens than any other nation on Earth. The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens, and there are currently 6 million Americans in jail. According to “Incarceration Nation” columnist Fareed Zakaria, this is more prisoners than there were in Stalin’s Gulag.
However, it seems that the viscous and barbaric war on marijuana users may finally be coming to an end. There are hopeful signs everywhere that cannabis prohibition is following alcohol prohibition into the trash bin of failed government policies.
Despite the fact that U.S. government currently lists marijuana as a drug with “no medical use,” 17 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for its medical properties, and six more states having pending legislations or ballot initiatives to do so.
Dozens of scientific studies have now demonstrated the safety and medical efficacy of cannabis. It appears that a critical mass, a tipping point, is about to be reached, and the black iron prison bars surrounding the giggly cannabis blossoms are starting to crack and crumble.
Here in beautiful Santa Cruz, it seems that the future has already arrived. Medical cannabis is easily available to all who need it, and patients’ rights are respected by local law enforcement. Santa Cruz residents voted to make marijuana crimes the lowest priority for our city’s police department, and with a medical marijuana card one can even smoke the herb at some of the outdoor cafes.
Civilization as we know it hasn’t yet collapsed here in Santa Cruz, so hopefully, the rest of the world will soon follow suit. When that magic day arrives, we can all spark up our jumbo spliffs, inhale deeply, and cheerfully celebrate to our heart’s content.
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