By: Jared Evan
Marijuana was once scapegoated for every problem in America, which has resulted in decades of arrests, and what some view as wasted police manpower.
Perceptions have changed in recent years, with many doctors finding medial uses for cannabis, including the plant and extracts useful for: reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures, and even treating mental illness and addictions. This has led to many states either decriminalizing recreational use or legalizing recreational use.
Currently only South Dakota, Nebraska, Idaho, and American Samoa, are the only places in America where Marijuana is totally illegal, including medial use. 11 states and DC have laws which legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
The remaining territories have some form of medical marijuana laws and many states where recreational use is illegal, have decriminalized the plant, meaning penalties exceptionally low if you are caught with the evil weed, including NY and NJ.
NJ has beat NY in the race to legalize recreational marijuana and the voters will go to the polls in November when they vote to decide if they want legal pot in the Garden State.
With a lot of attention in the nation focused on the role of law enforcement officers, and race, marijuana fits right in with the discourse. Many studies claim that minority groups are 3 times more likely to be charged with marijuana possession than White folks. A lot of the focus has been on these statistics in the quest for legalization. It should be noted that millions of Caucasian “stoners” faced the law for possessing, selling, or cultivating the Devil’s weed.
Libertarians and 4th amendment advocates site marijuana as the