Decriminalization vs. Legalization Of Weed
What Decriminalization vs Legalization Of Weed Means For You
In the last few years, there have been whispers of the federal decriminalization of cannabis. For those who aren’t in the know, it can be very confusing to understand the difference between decriminalization vs. legalization of weed.
The Questions You Should Ask Yourself
1. What does this mean for our country?
2. What kind of effect does this have on the average smoker in the United States?
3. Which one is better, Decriminalization or the Legalization of weed?
To understand these issues, one needs to have a good understanding of what decriminalization of weed is and how it is different from the legalization of weed.
What Is Legalization?
Legalization is when something becomes allowed by law. It means something once illegal, is now legal. It removes the fear of being arrested or fined providing you follow any restrictions included in the law. Alcohol is a good example of this. Even though alcohol is a legal substance in the United States you must be 21 to indulge and if out in public you can only drink in designated spaces, like a bar.
Not following these restrictions can result in you being arrested or fined. The government can also put a limit on what you can carry or possess. Retailers usually will require a license in order to sell goods, like in the case of liquor stores or bars.
What Is Decriminalization?
Decriminalization is removing the criminal aspect of the use of a certain drug. This has hard limits on the amount one can carry or use at any time. The drug is still illegal under federal or state laws that apply, but the punishment is not as extreme.
Instead of facing arrest for possession or use, if one is within the decriminalized limit, those found with the substance may see fines, education, or drug treatment as the punishment. Though punishment for use may be lessened by decriminalization, production, dealing, and sales of the drug are still prosecutable by law.
Difference Between Legalization Vs. Decriminalization
While these two may have some similarities in their definitions, they are nowhere near synonymous with each other. Decriminalized substances are still prohibited by the law but the legal system will not prosecute cases or criminalize an individual possessing under a certain amount. Legalization means there is no chance of being prosecuted as the once-banned substance is now federally legal, provided the user follows the law of where and when something can be used.
The Debate Around Legalization Vs. Decriminalization Of Weed
When it comes to the legalization and decriminalization of weed, there is a fierce debate. Many government officials believe that both legalization and decriminalization can amplify drug addiction issues in the United States, despite decriminalization’s focus on education and rehabilitation.
This belief ignores all the studies which claim criminal consequences have an unnoticeable effect on drug use. Those outside of a governmental capacity believe that decriminalization and its emphasis on rehabilitation over punishment have an overall better chance of deterring those who may use any harsh drug.
The Future of Research
Outside of deterring people from using harsher drugs, the decriminalization of weed has a better outlook for the cannabis market as a whole. Once decriminalized and removed from scheduling, universities and research labs can more freely access marijuana for medical-based studies. Helping us pin down the positives and negatives of long-term use for pain control.
Having this information can help tackle other substance abuse problems in society, like prescription drugs and opioids. Since marijuana has almost no evidence to suggest a high addiction rate among its users, the decriminalizing of weed and putting a higher value on medical research almost seems like the obvious move to make here. Ending federal prohibition as well will allow the states to make their own policies based on the wants and needs of its voting population.
While legalization puts society in a similar position, the main governing body of the United States would make a majority of the laws and regulations for the rest of the states to follow all while taking very little input from its voting bodies. Decriminalization, on the other hand, opens the possibility of expungement of past convictions. Roughly between 70 to 100 million people are living with some sort of record related to cannabis convictions.
As stated earlier, petty criminal convictions do little to deter overall drug use, and it is beyond shameful that so many people in the United States must carry the consequences of these petty convictions throughout their lives. It affects their employment chances, and housing and educational opportunities. This also barricades those with records from having a career in the cannabis industry, removing powerful forerunners from ever legally being able to work in an industry they helped create.
Decriminalization Vs. Legalization of weed is a very hot topic that seems to be changing constantly. We will keep our ears to the ground and update this article as things change.
If you have any thoughts or questions concerning the Decriminalization Vs. Legalization of weed please comment below. You can also find the history behind the topic here at history behind the topic here at Wikipedia and we also included a great video below.
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