It was not just Biden and Kamala who led the US elections. In several states, cannabis has been legalized – and in Oregon, not just it, but all drugs. Come to know more about this historical fact!
In recent days, our social networks have boiled up because of the election in the United States. The fierce dispute between Trump and Biden represented not only a mere decision, but also the fight against the alt-right – which is happening today all over the world. And while Donald’s defeat was consolidating, we also had other great news: the defeat of prohibitionism took effect in several American states, and we couldn’t be happier.
In all, five more states voted to legalize the herb: New Jersey, South Dakota, Mississippi, Montana and Arizona. In addition, Oregon voted to decriminalize all drugs, and Washington decriminalized a well-known entheogenic substance: psilocybin.
It is always very interesting to observe how the country that declared the War on Drugs currently moves more and more in favor of legalization. However, the main cradle of the ban has different terms in each state, and it is necessary to be inside the laws to know who legalized, who decriminalized and who regulated.
Got lost in terms? Here, we will explain exactly what each one of them means and how the situation in the United States is going in this increasingly anti-prohibitionist journey!
Understanding the concepts
Here on the blog, we always talk a lot about three types of processes: decriminalization, legalization and regulation. Although they may seem to say the same thing, they have their differences, and it is very important to understand them correctly – especially when we enter this militancy for the end of the War on Drugs.
Decriminalization means that the act or conduct is no longer a crime, so there is no more punishment in the criminal sphere, but it can still be considered as a civil or administrative offense. Therefore, the individual who commits such an act may suffer sanctions such as fines, provision of services or attendance at reeducation courses.
Depenalization is like what happens in Brazil in relation to personal use of substances. In that case, use, possession and trade are considered crimes, but individuals should not be arrested for doing so.
Legalization, on the other hand, means that the act or conduct is now permitted through a law. It, in itself, does not provide for any other type of rule if it is not accompanied by regulation.
The regulation is, then, when a state regulates and creates rules for the production, distribution, taxation, use and trade of these substances – as well as foresee penalties for those who break the rules established by the legislation. For example, the consumption of alcohol and tobacco is legalized, but it has restrictions, as they cannot be sold to minors and have production and sales rules.
In the case of cannabis, we have always argued that decriminalization is not enough for what we need. Although the term may sound pretty modern, alone, it does not help to determine the ways to produce, plant, buy or sell – in a way that does not fight trafficking, not to mention the fact that it does not foresee a recovery of the portion of society hit hard by the ban. We believe that legalization and regulation, with harm reduction and education strategies, are the best solutions for the situation in which we find ourselves!
And how is it going in the USA?
Since 2012, with the legalization of cannabis in Colorado and Washington, more than 30 others have followed the same steps. Last week, the number reached 35 of the 50 American states, with some historic advances achieved!
There were more than 100 plebiscites taking place in different states, and five of them reached new provisions in relation to cannabis:
New Jersey voters decided to legalize cannabis for adult use for recreational purposes beginning January 1, 2021.
Now, it will be up to the state to establish rules and regulate the production and consumption market.
In Montana, voters passed a constitutional measure and amendment to legalize cannabis use, and they also set the age of adult use to 21.
Montana residents can port, use and grow the herb as of January 1, 2021.
Regulated recreational sales are expected to begin shortly after the date.
South Dakota was the first state to approve the legalization of both medical and recreational cannabis at the same time, through a constitutional amendment.
It still remains “illegal” until July 1, 2021, when state residents can start buying, owning, consuming and growing up to three plants.
Medical use will also only begin to be made on July 1, 2021.
After a failed attempt in 2016, Arizona voters finally approved a proposal that legalizes adult cannabis use in the state.
According to the proposal, adults will be able to carry up to 30g of grass and grow up to 6 plants. Sales still have no date to start in the state.
One of the most amazing parts of this measure is that people who have been arrested for possessing 60 grams or less of cannabis or growing up to six cannabis plants can petition for the registration to be deleted – that is, it is a small step towards Repair.
There is no date for the new laws to take effect in Arizona – but it is expected to start in January 2021.
Voters in Mississippi approved medical cannabis through an election initiative. The state is known for conservatism and is therefore one of the last to legalize the medical use of the plant.
The state has until July 1, 2021 to establish rules for buying, selling and producing.
And what happened in Oregon?
In Oregon, where cannabis use has been legal since 2014, voters have decriminalized – but not legalized – all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. In addition, voters decided to legalize psilocybin, a psychedelic drug found in magic mushrooms, for supervised therapeutic use.
In Washington D.C., there was also an update
As in Oregon, cannabis is already regulated in Washington. In that plebiscite, Initiative 81 was voted, which would decriminalize several psychedelics
Technically, the measure would force the local police to lower the priority of enforcing laws against non-commercial cultivation, distribution, possession and use of “entheogenic plants and fungi” and would ask prosecutors to also remove cases related to those same substances. In practice, advocates say that DC would no longer enforce laws against these psychedelic drugs. But the move would not allow the commercial sale of drugs – so don’t wait for psychedelic dispensaries to show up!
Those who voted in favor argue that these drugs based on plants and fungi are not very dangerous, and that they may even benefit some people. Any problems that drugs cause, such as a “bad trip”, can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis – by public health agencies or other social services, rather than by law enforcement.
We celebrate all these small victories not only because they are historic, but for what they represent. We know that, in most cases, the legalization and regulation of drugs in American states has a 100% economic motivation to increase tax collection. But, if used well, they can help a lot in education and the spread of Harm Reduction as a public health strategy – which is totally positive.
Now that the country that gave name to the War on Drugs loosens its reins, we can expect other nations to follow. There, it is no longer a question of left or right – there is a political union for legalization. Our hope is that this trend will soon arrive in Brazil, which, despite some advances, still suffers under a punitive and unfair drug policy.
So, how long do you think it takes for these winds of change to reach our Brazil? We hope it will be as soon as possible – and not only to legalize consumption, but also to implement forms of recovery for those who have been the victim of this legislation. We hope very much (and we also fight) for this to be our reality too, and for us to see all of you planting and harvesting your buds, taking advantage of this ancestral medicine that is rightfully ours.
So, did you have any questions? Talk to us in the comments!