02-23 | Rachael
Among various developments and changes witnessed in the United States, the legalization of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes has emerged as one of the biggest sensational measures. With a number of states legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana, there has been a change in approach toward marijuana-related cases. Despite such a marked change, it remains a long-running debate in the country. While experts and researchers are busy analyzing the pros and cons of the decision, the legalization brought relief for the people convicted of marijuana charges.
According to the recent reports, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is mulling over dismissing nonviolent marijuana convictions. Talking to a news channel, the Democratic governor of the state confessed conducting a meeting with other governors to identify suitable solutions to deal with nonviolent marijuana offenses. “It’s roughly 40 cases (in Colorado) where we can be absolutely sure there was no violence involved in sentencing,” said Hickenlooper in the interview.
The exploration comes in the wake of overcrowded prisons and inclusion of the commutation of sentences in the policy statement of the Democrats. In addition, the step comes as an extended approach to the release of seven people convicted of marijuana possession in Nov. 2017 by Hickenlooper. Making the entire initiative more proactive, the administration has identified nearly 40 inmates serving prison sentences for marijuana crimes (possession or sale). It is also examining their other details and conduct in prison.
Apart from Colorado, District Attorney of San Francisco, George Gascon, plans to reduce the number of criminal convictions for marijuana recorded in the last few decades. Stating the details of the plan, he stated that his office would be rejecting nearly 3,000 misdemeanor cases and reviewing around 5,000 felony cases for determining the possible action.
Before hailing the above action and plan as progressive reforms, it is necessary to understand the impact of the legalization of marijuana on common masses. Reportedly, the use of marijuana has massively spiked among American teenagers and students due to the decrease in its perceived harmfulness after the legalization of the drug for recreational purposes. Using the data from around 253,902 students across 47 states from grade eight to 12, one of the studies tried understanding the changes both before and after the legalization of marijuana. The results can play a pivotal role in understanding the magnitude of marijuana abuse across states that have legalized the drug for recreational purposes, especially Colorado.
According to the study, a marked increase was witnessed in marijuana use among eighth and 10th graders in Washington. On one side, the rate of marijuana use increased by 2 percent and 4.1 percent among eighth and 10th graders, respectively. On the other side, the states yet to legalize marijuana use for recreational purposes saw a decline of around 4.9 percent and 7.2 percent among eighth and 10th graders, respectively. The 12th graders in Washington and all three graders in Colorado did not display similar results.
While marijuana use increased among eighth and 10th graders in Washington due to the easy availability of the drug through third-party purchases, it made no impact on 12th graders due to the presence of already formed beliefs related to marijuana. Such comparable changes were not found in Colorado due to the difference in commercialization of marijuana before legalization.
With the legalization of marijuana, one of the major concerns to emerge is the rise of addiction among youngsters. Due to the shift in social norms related to marijuana post legalization, its prices declined in the black market, leading to an increase in marijuana use. To address the issue of relationship between legalization of marijuana for recreational use and addiction in adolescents, researchers need to look beyond the self-reported marijuana use. They must try figuring out a criterion that ensures results applicable throughout the U.S.
It is too early to determine the overall impact of legalization of marijuana on the country. Until then, it becomes the responsibility of the states and administrations to impart accurate knowledge and education to people. They should be educated about the harms and benefits of marijuana. Additionally, there is the pressing need for ensuring the cautious interpretation of the findings that led to the legalization of recreational use for adults.
If you or your loved one is battling an addiction and is looking for relevant information regarding the right treatment facility, get in touch with the Colorado Drug Addiction Helpline. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-218-7546 or chat online with our experts to know about the various drug rehab centers in Colorado.