As of 2018, more than half of the country (thirty states) have legalized the use of medical marijuana. Eight of those thirty have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
With the rise of marijuana legalization occurring across the country a debate has been proposed on the topic of incarceration for marijuana based drug crimes. The war on drugs, which was created during the Ronald Reagan administration, it aimed to eliminate substance abuse. President Reagan released the Anti-Drug abuse campaign in the early 80’s which established mandatory minimum prison offenses for nonviolent drug offenses.
The war on drugs founded mass incarceration which targeted mainly black and brown men. “Over 2.3 million men in America are in prison — about half for drug crimes. Seventy percent of all men imprisoned are black or Hispanic.” Therefore, the center of this debate focuses on the incarceration of black and brown men and the act of releasing them as well as abolishing their records.
The abolishment of their incarceration as well as their records would allow them to enter society with a clean slate which previously was not possible because even after being released from prison, their records would not allow them to enter to the workforce without hiring discrimination among many other forms of discrimination they face.
The rise of the legalization of marijuana can be compared to the legalization of gay marriage nationwide. What was once faux pas became a national right to citizens.
Although allowing people to marry who they love and using marijuana legally are not directly comparable, the comparison derives from how gay marriage was once a state issue, just as the legalization of marijuana is currently.
With more than half of the country legalizing the use of medical marijuana it is easy to observe that trends of our country will repeat themselves. Recreational use of marijuana is bound to be legalized in due time.
The legalization nationwide would allow a large amount of job opportunities and opportunities for entrepreneurship as it has done states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
In states where recreational use is legal, such as Colorado dispensaries wildly popular. Among the dispensaries various cannabis based activities are available as well such as puff, pass and paint classes, lit on lit writing classes, and pipemaking 101. These activities are wildly popular and create high revenues for those in ownership.
However these opportunities are not accessible to those convicted of drug crimes. In the various states where recreational use is legalized different laws are in place to eliminate or limit the amount of work convicted drug felons can do in the field.