Decriminalization of Marijuana may be the way Forward

Although the United States, and indeed, some foreign countries have dramatically shifted their views on marijuana there are still many places in the United States were possession of marijuana is a criminal offense.

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Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know that even in California, the first state to allow medicinal use of marijuana, it is still not legalized for recreational use.

The public and legislators in California are sure to be watching how Colorado and Washington State handle the recent legalization of marijuana. Recent surveys have shown that public opinion is shifting in favor of legalized pot.

A poll conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union in October shows that roughly 65 percent of California citizens are in favor of legalizing marijuana within the state. Merely 27 percent of Californians strongly oppose legalization.

Some still claim that marijuana is a gateway drug but the in the scientific evidence the question becomes one of causation vs correlation.

In Los Angeles, as is the case throughout the country, feelings on legalized marijuana are mixed. Some individuals feel that marijuana should be legalized because it would be such an excellent source of tax revenue. Proponents of marijuana legalization are confident that legalizing recreational marijuana will be on the ballot in California.

Many would consider the war on marijuana to be an objective failure by the United States government.

A study released by the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that marijuana use among different races was fairly equal. With about 14 percent of African Americans and about 12 percent of white Americans using the substance.

Unfortunately, the arrest rates for marijuana related crimes are not equal among the races in any way. According to research a black person is about 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than a white person.

In states with the most egregious arrest disparities black residents were as much as 30 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession that white residents.

The real argument for marijuana’s legalization is that individuals suddenly have an arrest record that haunts them in for many years. Sometimes an arrest and conviction is over an extraordinarily small amount of marijuana but still has a significant and lasting impact on the individual.

Although the conversation often focuses on legalization vs the status quo there is a potential middle ground that could solve the major concerns of both sides.

The third option is widespread decriminalization of marijuana. The effect of decriminalization is still a form of overall public disapproval but without the injustices and contradictions of the current aggressive approach.

While Washington and Colorado have decided to completely legalize the substance more than twelve states have decided to decriminalize marijuana and impose very limited traffic ticket style penalties for those in possession of marijuana.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
More Blog Entries:

Marijuana DUI an Increasing Threat Amid Legalization Efforts, January 1, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog
California: City Council to Review Bill Allowing Dispensaries , December 29, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog