U.S. can hardly stop the wave of marijuana legalization

On December 2, 2020, the United Nations voted on the “legalization of marijuana”. Among 53 countries, 27 countries, led by the United States, voted in favor, and 25 countries including China and Russia voted against. The resolution was finally passed with a result of 27:25, removing cannabis from the list with the most powerful controls. Removed. This means that in international standards, cannabis will no longer be considered a drug equivalent to fentanyl and opium. Two days later, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the “Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Deletion Act.” The bill is intended to remove marijuana from the classification required by The Controlled Substances Act. This means that certain criminal prosecutions involving marijuana may also be dropped. This is the first time since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 that the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to lift the federal ban on marijuana. In 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize the sale and cultivation of cannabis. In October 2018, Canada followed closely. In the past ten years, the wave of marijuana legalization in the United States has also been turbulent, and more and more states are opening up the legalization of marijuana.

Cannabis: The “Winner” of the 2020 US Presidential Election
During the 2020 U.S. presidential election, more than 30 states held referendums on a wide range of topics, including voting rights, abortion rights, racial inequality, taxation and education, among which the legalization of marijuana was one of them. On election day, five states including Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, and Mississippi voted to support some form of legalization of marijuana. On November 4, Paul Almentano, deputy director of the U.S. Cannabis Law Reform Organization, published an article in the “Capitol Hill”, claiming that there was an unquestionable “winner” on presidential election night, neither Trump nor thanks. Den, but marijuana! Indeed, 36 states in the United States have legalized medical marijuana, and 15 states and the capital, Washington, have legalized recreational marijuana, which means that one-third of Americans can legally obtain marijuana.

A medical marijuana plantation in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, USA.

Since the 1970s, the American public’s support for the legalization of marijuana has increased. According to the latest Gallup poll, the support rate for legalization of marijuana has risen from about 14% in 1972 to 68% now. Almentano believes that American support for the legalization of marijuana crosses geographical and demographic boundaries and has nothing to do with partisan politics. The motives for legalization of marijuana are extremely complex, including social and cultural motives, as well as economic, political, judicial, and media propaganda. In fact, the legalization of marijuana, like gun control, abortion, and same-sex marriage, is also one of the themes of the contemporary “cultural war” in the United States. From the perspective of party politics, 48% of Republicans currently support the legalization of marijuana, while up to 83% of Democrats support the legalization of marijuana; from the perspective of political ideology, 49% of conservatives support the legalization of marijuana, and up to 87%. % Of liberals support the legalization of marijuana. It can be seen that on this issue, the distinction between party affiliation and ideology is very clear. The two parties are engaged in a long-term political game around the legalization of marijuana. However, a fact that cannot be ignored is that it is not easy to achieve full legalization of cannabis in the United States, and it must be deleted from the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act.

The contradiction between the “Controlled Substances Act” and the state’s “security rights”
The proliferation of drugs is a chronic disease in American society. The United States is also one of the first countries in the world to control drugs. As early as 1906, the United States passed the Food and Drugs Act (The Food and Drugs Act). In the 1960s, counter-cultural movements were rampant, especially the flood of recreational drugs, so President Nixon launched the “War on Drugs” and called drugs “Public Enemy No. 1”. In 1969, President Nixon ordered the then Attorney General Mitchell to draft a new comprehensive anti-drug bill to reduce the use, distribution and trade of drugs through strict law enforcement and imprisonment penalties. The Controlled Substances Act came into being. According to the “Controlled Substances Act”, cannabis is included in the first category of controlled substances. This law corresponds to the international anti-drug treaties and divides the list of controlled substances into five categories, of which the first category is the most harmful for abuse, and there is no recognized medical value. Regarding the first category of controlled substances, no one can prescribe it, and its production quota is controlled by the Drug Enforcement Administration under the Federal Ministry of Justice. Violators constitute a criminal offence.

Since California first legalized medicinal marijuana through a referendum in 1996, liberals have tried hard to remove marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances Act. They started with the legalization of medical marijuana and then legalized recreational marijuana. For states that advocate the legalization of marijuana, they believe that the Federal Controlled Substances Act is suspected of being unconstitutional and “violating the state’s right to public security.” The state’s public security rights are conferred by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which stipulates: “The rights that the Constitution does not grant the United States nor prohibit the exercise of the states shall be reserved by the states or their people.” According to this amendment, the states have The right to formulate and implement laws to protect public health, public safety and social welfare, or to delegate this right to local governments, but not in violation of legal procedures. Therefore, state laws do not need to be consistent with relevant federal laws. The authority to define whether acts such as possession or use of marijuana are illegal or criminal is within the scope of public security rights owned by each state, and does not belong to the federal government. The Democratic Party and the liberal elite even believe that including marijuana into the “Controlled Substances Act” is itself a mistake. The current chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Nadler, said that the “criminalization of marijuana” policy in the last century was due to insufficient information and preconceived impressions of individual races, which linked African and Latino people with marijuana. The implication is that the inclusion of marijuana in the “Controlled Substances Act” is a product of the times and a product of racial discrimination. When the Federal Controlled Substances Act conflicts with the laws related to the legalization of marijuana in the state, the attitude and role of the Federal Supreme Court have become prominent.

The attitude of the Federal Supreme Court quietly changed
The Federal Supreme Court is very cautious when it comes to marijuana issues. The Supreme Court has not yet fully addressed the constitutionality of cannabis use. At present, the Federal Supreme Court has a clear attitude and still maintains the classification standards of cannabis in the Controlled Substances Act. For example, on May 14, 2001, the Federal Supreme Court ruled in “United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative” (United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative) with a vote of 8 to 0, prohibiting the use of marijuana as a drug Offer or sell. On June 6, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in “Gonzales v. Raich” (Gonzales v. Raich) with a 6 to 3 vote: “According to the commercial provisions of the U.S. Constitution, Congress can The production and use of cultivated marijuana is criminalized, even if state law allows marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes.”

Although these cases of the Federal Supreme Court temporarily set up judicial obstacles to the legalization of marijuana, they are unable to stop the wave of legalization of marijuana. The public opinion in the United States supporting the legalization of marijuana has fundamentally changed. The economic and political benefits brought by marijuana make it difficult for the American political elite to refuse, and it has also become an important issue in the election. American politicians often use “marijuana cards” to win votes from voters, especially minorities and young voters. Public opinion and votes have also prompted Congress and administrative branches to gradually relax the control of marijuana, especially medical marijuana. For example, in 2014 the US Congress passed the “Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment” (Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment), prohibiting the US Department of Justice from using federal funds to intervene in the implementation of state cannabis medical laws. During Obama’s presidency, marijuana control policies have regressed seriously. From himself to the attorney general, some states have legalized marijuana and did not take any legal actions against the “legalization of recreational marijuana.” The trend of legalization of marijuana has caused the justices’ attitudes to change. In April 2014, Justice Stevens, who had already retired, said in an interview with the media regarding the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado: “People’s perceptions of marijuana have changed, and the distinction between marijuana and alcoholic beverages has also changed. Not big. It is generally accepted that restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages are unreasonable, and I think that one day the public will agree that restrictions on the sale of marijuana are also unreasonable.” In the eyes of many Americans, the legalization of marijuana Not only has it brought considerable economic benefits, but more importantly, it embodies respect for the value of life and individual free choice, follows the individual’s inner thoughts and tendencies, and pursues different life experiences and diversified lifestyles. However, the harm of legalization of marijuana is obvious: it not only has a major negative impact on the global anti-drug cause, threatens the established anti-drug policy of the United States, but also induces the legalization of all drugs such as heroin, which will further aggravate the American society. Divide, increase the crime rate of society as a whole.