The 2020 election has been filled with misinformation and turmoil, and while votes are still being counted in some states, there is one clear winner: drug law reform. Cannabis voters came out in a big way this election, making it known that the American people favor marijuana and want the laws to reflect this sentiment. In fact, every single state with cannabis on the ballot won. The big cannabis winners include:
- New Jersey
- South Dakota
What’s more? The infamous “war on drugs” seems to finally be coming to a halt. America’s war on drugs was led by the federal government, a global campaign aiming to get rid of the illegal drug trade in the U.S. In the early 1970s, President Richard Nixon had officially declared drug abuse as “public enemy number one”. This sparked decades of incarceration against Americans and arguably lacked much efficacy.
Fast-forward to the 2020 election and American has seen that the public sentiment has truly transformed. The argument that the war on drugs is ineffective has been ongoing for yours, but it wasn’t until this year that both red and blue states made their voices heard. Today, 1 in 3 Americans live in a state where the law says that cannabis recreational use is legal. This is a huge victory for cannabis lovers around the country, even for those whose state has yet to pass laws to support it.
Beyond cannabis, Oregon has made a massive stride in shifting the focus of personal drug possession from a criminal issue to a mental health/addiction issue. As the first state to decriminalize the personal possession of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and oxycodone, Oregon’s Measure 110 will work diligently to change the conversation. Now, that the noncommercial use of drugs is decriminalized, those found with personal use of these drugs will be given the option to pay a fine or get addiction treatment.
As the state with the highest rates of addiction in the country, Oregon was poised to make a significant change. Placing the focus on addiction recovery, not mass incarceration, hopes to position Oregon to move up those ranks. In addition to Measure 110, Oregon also passed Measure 109 which legalizes the use psychedelics used for mental health purposes. These psychedelics must be administered at licensed health facilities.
As with many of the issues related to the 2020 election, there is a lot of misinformation floating around the internet. It is important to make the distinction between “legalized” and “decriminalized”. It is false to say that cocaine, for instance, is now “legalized” in Oregon. The decriminalization of cocaine means that criminal penalties no longer exist for Oregonians found with personal use quantities of the drug.
The trends in the United States are all pointing toward one common goal: the war on drugs is ending. Finally, Americans can celebrate the beauty of cannabis and all of the benefits that it brings to the world. We are excited to be on this journey as the rest of the country catches up on realizing the incredible aspects linked to cannabis and cannabis culture.