A majority of Americans now favor the legalization of marijuana 


Since January 1, 2018, the state with the biggest Filipino population in the United States has been selling recreational marijuana after voters in California legalized the practice in a November 2016 ballot measure.

Recreational marijuana has already been legalized in seven other states and the District of Columbia, while 29 states — plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico — have legalized the drug for medical purposes.

However, in as far as federal laws are concerned, marijuana remains illegal. And so when California started implementing the Golden State voters’ mandate to allow the sale and recreational use of marijuana this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week announced that the Justice Department may step up the enforcement of this federal law, even in cities and states where the voters have legalized marijuana.

After years of research about the benefits vs. risks of marijuana, more Americans are now supporting the legalization of cannabis (marijuana).

Here are the findings of a recent Pew Research study on this issue:

“About six-in-ten Americans (61 percent) say the use of marijuana should be legalized, reflecting a steady increase over the past decade, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The survey, conducted in October, finds that the share of U.S. adults who support marijuana legalization is little changed from about a year ago – when 57 percent favored it – but it is nearly double what it was in 2000 (31 percent).

As in the past, there are wide generational and partisan differences on the views of marijuana legalization. A majority of millennials (70 percent), Gen Xers (66 percent) and Baby Boomers (56 percent) say the use of marijuana should be legal. Only among the Silent Generation does a greater share oppose (58 percent) than favor (35 percent) marijuana legalization.”

Other countries where marijuana is legal

Newsweek has reported on the status of the legalization of marijuana in other countries of the world and the conditions that are followed:

“In Australia, Greece, Croatia, Israel, Poland, Mexico, Finland, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Macedonia and Italy, consumers need prescriptions for one of just a few medical conditions. Laws leave some room for research purposes, which makes cannabis technically legal for some to grow, but there are still strict enforcements in place to criminalize most usage. Oftentimes it’s legal for people to possess marijuana, but not legal for anybody to cultivate or sell the drug, leaving a gray area that lowers the rate of arrests for possession but doesn’t allow for most other steps of the process.

“In Chile, the Latin American country with the highest per capita marijuana use, all public production and consumption cannabis is illegal, but Chilean Congress is debating a bill that would make it legal to grow up to six plants in a private home for ‘medical, recreational, or spiritual reasons.’

“In Denmark, marijuana is illegal unless you happen to be in Freetown, a neighborhood in Copenhagen that declared cannabis consumption and sales legal. The Danish police don’t enforce federal laws in this neighborhood, that has become known as the ‘green light district.’ Spain has a similar situation, that leaves a loophole for marijuana to be sold in certain private clubs and in private homes, but it’s not technically legal to sell or transport anywhere. South Africa has similar laws on consumption in private.

“Germany allows marijuana use with a medical prescription, and if you consume marijuana without one, it’s considered ‘self-harm’ rather than a crime. In Colombia, medical marijuana is allowed and some consumption and cultivation in private is permitted.

“In India and the United States, legalization varies greatly state-by-state. Puerto Rico allows medical prescriptions but only in forms that cannot be smoked.

“Uruguay, the Netherlands and Jamaica are some of the most accepting nations when it comes to marijuana consumption. In Uruguay, marijuana is fully legalized for both medical and recreational purposes, and Jamaica allows Rastafarians to grow and use cannabis, and anybody can cultivate up to five plants for personal use, though it’s illegal for public use. Possession is legal in ‘coffeeshops’ in the Netherlands, where it can be sold and consumed.

Peru is the latest Latin American nation to legalize marijuana in some form.”

Do you favor the legalization of marijuana?

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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

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