According to various news sources, legal marijuana sales are expected to hit over $20 billion in 2020. Various groups and individuals are calling for the feds to change their stance on the continued illegalization of marijuana at the federal level.
Discussions about marijuana and other related drugs have been going on for decades, even as it becomes more popular and how its sales have continuously led to the arrest of young people most especially young black Americans. In this blog article, we shall look at 10 Interesting Things You Need To Know About Marijuana to educate you more so you can form your own opinion on this matter.
Ø Do You Know The Differences Between Cannabis, Hemp, and Marijuana?
Most people do not know the difference between Hemp and Marijuana; they often clump Cannabis sativa products together. We must understand the difference between these products to have any discussions about marijuana. There are three species of cannabis. They are Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis. Hemp and marijuana are simply two different varieties of cannabis that look exactly alike and the difference between the two is based on their chemical composition.
The two varieties produce high levels of CBD, but the hemp variety contains less than 0.3% THC (the most psychoactive chemical in cannabis) while marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC. Because of this difference, hemp-derived products are now legal, while marijuana still has an illegal status based on federal laws.
Ø Statistics of Marijuana Usage In America
Even though some Americans will not admit to marijuana use, the numbers don’t lie. The numbers show that marijuana is the most popular and used illicit drug in the states, whether it is used for medical or recreational purposes. This means that most people secretly use it in their homes or elsewhere. A 2018 survey put out by Statista showing the use of the drug by age, reveals that 24% of Americans between the ages of 18-29, 13% of people aged 30-49, 11% of the population 50-54, while 6% of Americans 65 and above use the drug. Another survey by Marist University in 2017 state that there are at least 55 million Americans that use marijuana regularly.
Financial reports show that the industry grew from a 6.8 billion dollar to 12.4 billion dollars in 2019 and is forecasted to grow to around 23 billion dollars by 2025. These statistics are a clear indication that the issue is both popular and valuable.
Ø Federal and State Marijuana Laws and Regulation
As a result of bad press that marijuana received in the 1930s in what is now known as the “Reefer Madness” propaganda, federal laws were passed to illegalize use or possession of the drug in 1970. Ever since then, the drug has maintained its illegal status federally. However, some US states can legalize and regulate the use of marijuana and its related products because of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. This measure allows individuals to use the drug medically in states where it is designated legal for medical use. Eleven states have legalized both recreational and medicinal use of marijuana. They include California, Alaska, Illinois, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and Michigan, while other states like; Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Missouri, and 10 other states that have deemed it legal for medical use. It is still prohibited in some states.
Polls show that more than half of the Americans are in support of the federal legalization of marijuana, as it is a popular view that this will go a long way to further federal criminal and justice reforms and because it is financially valuable. In response to this, in Nov. 2019, the House judiciary committee passed a bill that will legalize it federally and will go through in the house of assembly but may face challenges in the senate, so you might want to hold on the celebratory brownies for the meantime.
Ø Recreational Vs. Medical Marijuana Use
It doesn’t take a genius to distinguish the difference between recreational and medical marijuana. Beyond this, other differences determine which types can be used for medical or recreational purposes. If you live in a state where marijuana use is approved, you need to know the difference to avoid getting on the bad side of the law. Marijuana used for medical purposes usually contains less THC compared to the recreational type, which is why the former is most popular because of the euphoric feeling that it gives the user.
Also, medical marijuana contains more CBD levels than recreational marijuana, which gives it a higher nutritional value. More people are using recreational marijuana than those using them for medicinal purposes. Several people are getting prescriptions for and using medical marijuana, especially as the use of the drug for medical purposes is legal in some states.
Ø Medicinal Value of Marijuana
Marijuana is one of the oldest cultivated crops. It has been used for thousands of years in various places all over the world for its medicinal value. Marijuana is proven to help manage, alleviate, or even treat some medical conditions with little or no side effects unlike the drugs used to treat or manage these diseases.
Medical marijuana reportedly helps to relieve pains experienced by AIDS and diabetes patients. It is used to manage multiple sclerosis and treat muscle spasms. It is also used to manage Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, treat children with epilepsy and schizophrenia, and treat glaucoma, eating disorders, nausea, and other diseases.
Ø The Dangers of Marijuana Laced With Toxins
Did you know that there are marijuana products available in the market that are laced with other chemicals or substances to improve psychoactive effects or increase its quantity? This makes these products more addictive or even dangerous to a consumer's health. Some of the substances that are mixed with marijuana include PCP, heroin, methamphetamine, ketamine, laundry detergent, embalming fluid, and cocaine.
Some users lace marijuana with drugs like fentanyl because of its potency, which could be deadly or cause some medical conditions. Some medical conditions include depression, bad dental health, insomnia, and muscular pains. The combination of marijuana and fentanyl in very large quantities can cause loss of consciousness, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, and even death.
Ø What IS Vaping?
Vaping is an activity that is becoming increasingly popular in America as well as all over the world. It involves inhaling vapor that is produced from an e-cigarette, which is a power-battery device that holds a cartridge containing a liquid made of chemicals, flavorings, and nicotine. The device works by heating the liquid, which converts it to the vapor which is then inhaled.
Ø Vape-Related Dangers
Vaping is also used to consume marijuana. Some medical consequences come with vaping especially because it is addictive and because of the nicotine content. Experts advise that vaping can lead to change in mood, low attention deficit, could even cause long term damage to the brain, and negatively affect the lungs. Therefore, there are push backs against vaping, which has invited the feds to investigate the matter and possibly impose sanctions.
Ø The Disproportionate Incarceration of Blacks for Marijuana Sales and Possession
It is popularly-believed that the war against marijuana is considered a war against colored people, especially blacks. The implementation of the federal ban on marijuana by law enforcement agents over the years has led to the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of young African Americans.
Some studies show that blacks are four times more likely to be arrested for possession of the drug. This trend is very worrying as it has far-reaching consequences in black communities.
Another worrisome aspect of the issue is the fact that even though there are also white drug dealers of marijuana, there are more arrests of black drug dealers for sales of marijuana all over the country by law enforcement personnel, even in states where the practice is legal. This is because there is a problem of over-policing in black neighborhoods and because of racial profiling by law enforcement, which makes it more likely for blacks to be involved in stops and searches more than whites.
The fight against marijuana sales and usage show racial bias and this why a lot of people are calling for the legalization of the drug to help curb the problem. Criminal justice reform initiatives have been implemented in the U.S. to help reduce mass incarceration for non-violent offenders, drug dealers, and others.
Ø How Reforms Can Help
Criminal justice reforms will go a long way in the right direction with the review of the federal government’s stance on marijuana use and possession. This is one reason why most people are happy about the developments in Congress that could potentially change this.
Popular consensus condones marijuana use and its commercialization and regulation instead of its illegalization. This move may reduce the number of young and incarcerated African Americans should significantly reduce the number of African Americans that are arrested, and in turn, improve their chances to live a better life overall.
The topic of marijuana and legalization is currently on the table for discussions and political decisions. There may be many implications should marijuana become legal at the federal level.
Whatever your stance is on the matter, it is worth listening to both sides of these arguments that have continued to rage on. Whatever happens, we should all clamor for a better justice system and equality for everyone in our great country.
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