In this era of political polarization, when Americans seem to agree on absolutely nothing, let me reassure you. We overwhelmingly agree that cannabis should be legal.
1 in 5 Americans have (state) legal access, 1 in 2 have experimented with it, and more than 1 in 10 smoke regularly. Southern California yuppies are publicly winning prizes for growing the same plant that landed Georgia teenagers in prison.
Half of states allow at least limited use, and a few attract elite cannabis tourism. Federally, the drug remains fiercely criminalized, despite irrefutable evidence of its medical value.
So what’s the hold-up?
Being in the anti-marijuana business is astonishingly lucrative for bureaucrats and campaign donors. Here are just a few of the heavy hitters addicted to federal prohibition:
National Beer Wholesalers Association
Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America
The makers and distributors of America’s top-selling beers, wines, and liquors are already facing stiff competition from newly deregulated microbrewers and craft distilleries.
Cannabis prohibition shuts out a zero-calorie competitor with far fewer short- and long-term health risks. The industry donated (read: invested) $19 million to re-election campaigns in 2016, and another $4 million to soft money groups like “Public Safety First” which specifically oppose cannabis legalization efforts. The efforts here are well documented.
Cannabis legalization does reduce alcohol sales, and its regular use reduces alcoholism and alcohol-related deaths. Each year 37,000 deaths in the US are attributed to alcohol, compared to zero deaths from cannabis use, ever. Brewers and distillers are eager to point “public health and safety” attention in another direction.'
Read more: Meet The Special Interests Keeping Marijuana Criminalized
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