Two U.S. states have legalized recreational marijuana, and more may follow; the Obama administration has conditionally accepted these experiments. Such actions are in obvious tension with three international treaties that together commit the United States to punish and even criminalize activity related to recreational marijuana. The administration asserts that its policy complies with the treaties because they leave room for flexibility and prosecutorial discretion.
For decades, the United States has been a champion of the global drug control treaty system, which limits the use of marijuana exclusively to medical and scientific purposes, and obligates governments to punish and even criminalize recreational marijuana activity. But American attitudes toward marijuana policy are shifting: voters in Colorado and Washington approved ballot initiatives to legalize regulated recreational marijuana in 2012, and recent polls suggest that the majority of Americans think marijuana use should be legalized.
La legalización de la marihuana en Washington y Colorado presenta desafíos para el Gobierno federal. Un informe del Instituto Brookings plantea que la legalización ponen a EE.UU. en conflicto con los tratados internacionales antidrogas que “comprometen a castigar y hasta criminalizar actividad relacionada con el uso recreativo de la marihuana”. El informe destaca que el Gobierno federal ha señalado que los tratados le facultan a los firmantes “flexibilidad y discrecionalidad” a la hora de implementar políticas relacionadas con la marihuana.
Suppose the United States government helps to negotiate, and subsequently champions, certain framework treaties – ones justly viewed as imposing significant constraints on all signatories. Down the road, the United States occasionally even calls out counterparties for their looser policy innovations, when the latter push the outer boundaries of what’s permitted under the treaties; a treaty-created monitoring body does likewise in its annual reporting. This pattern essentially holds year in and year out and from one presidential administration to the next.
A report from Greenwave Advisors, a "comprehensive research and financial analysis for the emerging legalized marijuana industry," projects that legal cannabis could be an industry with revenues of $35 billion by 2020 if marijuana is legalized at the federal level. To put that figure in perspective, $35 billion represents more annual revenue than the NFL (currently $10 billion), and is roughly on par with current revenues for the newspaper publishing industry ($38 billion) and the confectionary industry ($34 billion).
Retail marijuana sales for adults are now legal (at least at the state level) in Colorado and Washington. Next month, voters in Alaska and Oregon may decide to follow suit. It is nearly certain that marijuana legalization will make it onto the California ballot in 2016, during a presidential election season that will generate enormous interest among young voters. Robert MacCoun looks at options for designing a marijuana proposal.
If D.C. residents vote to legalize marijuana possession next week, it wouldn’t just mean a sea change in drug policy in the nation’s capital. It could also mean big business. A study by District financial officials shared with lawmakers estimates a legal D.C. cannabis market worth $130 million a year. The ballot initiative voters will see Tuesday does not allow for the legal sale of marijuana — only the possession and home cultivation of small amounts — but D.C. Council members gathered Thursday to hear testimony about what a legal sales regime might look like.
Washington DC followed Colorado and Washington state into a closely watched experiment to legalize marijuana, as voters overwhelmingly backed an initiative 7 to 3 allowing cannabis to be consumed and grown in the nation’s capital. The move to allow the drug almost certainly will take effect unless the next US Congress, which holds significant legislative authority over the city, blocks it. Under a voter-proposed measure, known as Initiative 71, residents and visitors age 21 and older will be allowed to legally possess as much as two ounces of marijuana and to grow up to three marijuana plants at home.
Oregon and Alaska have become the latest US states to legalise recreational marijuana in ballots hailed by supporters as evidence that a national change of policy is underway. Voters in both states approved laws which will permit residents over 21 to grow their own marijuana and establish a legal retail trade. The results, which followed the legalisation of recreational marijuana in Washington state and Colorado two years ago, were cheered by national campaigns as evidence of a gathering movement to challenge federal laws banning the drug. (See also: Election 2014: Americans ready to end the War on Drugs)
Attitudes about marijuana have undergone a rapid shift in public opinion, paralleled by few other trends in the U.S. Our recent data, along with historical figures from Gallup and the General Social Survey, reveal how views have shifted about the drug over time. Earlier this year, our survey found that many more Americans now favor shifting the focus of the nation’s overall drug policy. Here are six key facts about public opinion and marijuana.
On November 4, several states radically altered their approaches to a drug once known for Reefer Madness. In Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, DC, voters approved marijuana legalization measures. But in Florida, a medical marijuana amendment fell short of the 60 percent approval it needed to pass under state law. Here's a breakdown of each state's initiative, the latest results, and how the opposing campaigns pushed their messages to voters.
En coincidencia con las elecciones legislativas en Estados Unidos, tres estados – Oregon, el Distrito de Columbia y Alaska – aprobaron el uso recreativo de la marihuana siguiendo el ejemplo de Colorado y Washington, que fueron pioneros en legalizar la marihuana en 2012. La iniciativa Measure 91 permite que, a partir de los 21 años, los residentes de Oregon posean marihuana y que planten hasta un máximo de cuatro plantas en sus casas. También en Alaska se impuso la legalización. Los partidarios de la legalización se impusieron también con amplio margen en un plebiscito en el distrito de Columbia, sede de la capital.
Three marijuana legalization initiatives were on the ballot this week, and all three won. That’s a better outcome than I was expecting. I was surprised when voters in Colorado and Washington approved legalization two years ago, and I was surprised again when voters in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., followed suit. Partly that’s because, after 25 years of advocating drug legalization (along with various other unpopular positions), I am accustomed to losing. But it’s also because I had looked at the polling data.
Even as the national experiment legalizing recreational pot spread this week to Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., a new poll suggests the enthusiasm among voters has hit a plateau. A majority, 51%, favors legalizing marijuana, according to a Gallup Poll. That's about where support has been since 2011, but a drop from the 58% who told Gallup last year they supported legalization. Last year's poll came just after Colorado and Oregon had voted to allow marijuana to be sold in stores and were in the process of setting up the market.
The local pro-ganja lobby in Jamaica is welcoming the vote for the legalisation of ganja in the American states of Oregon, Alaska, and Washington DC. "One of the biggest stumbling blocks has been the fear about how the United States would react to what we are doing and what we seeing happening is a clear indication that the United States people are moving in favour of legalising ganja on a wider and wider basis, whilst Jamaica continues to stall and not be bold enough to do what we need to do," Delano Seiveright, director of the Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Taskforce said. (See also: Jamaica urged to keep ganja debate going)
En junio de 1971, el entonces presidente Richard Nixon declaró una guerra frontal contra las drogas. Entre las primeras medidas que tomó fue la de clasificar a la marihuana en la categoría número uno de las listas de sustancias prohibidas en EE.UU., en compañía de la heroína. Y aunque 45 años después esta droga sigue estando en la misma categoría, ha sido enorme el cambio de la sociedad frente a la otrora yerba maldita. Una nueva prueba emergió durante las elecciones de mitad de término. Alaska y Oregon no solo le legalizaron el consumo con fines recreativos sino que dieron poder a sus líderes para reglamentar la producción y venta.
The New York Police Department, which has been arresting tens of thousands of people a year for low-level marijuana possession, is to stop making such arrests and to issue tickets instead. People found with small amounts of marijuana would be issued court summonses and be allowed to continue on their way without being handcuffed and taken to station houses for fingerprinting. The change would remake the way the police in New York City handle the most common drug offenses to address the effects of the department’s excessive stop-and-frisk practices. (See also: Concerns in criminal justice system as New York City eases marijuana policy)