How Decriminalizing Marijuana Would Change the U.S.

There may be a significant amount of change coming to the United States in the wake of Covid-19. This pandemic has undoubtedly changed our society and the way that our country functions (and we are still seeing changes), and one of those changes is the increased demand for marijuana from a medical standpoint. The year 2020 was the most booming and profitable year for the marijuana industry, and it became widely more accepted to use cannabis in 2020 than the year prior. The reason for this is because people were dealing with a lot more stress, anxiety, and mental health problems overall that lead to them using marijuana’s health and relaxation benefits to cope. Since then, there has been a shift in the policies and viewpoints of governments that may indicate marijuana being decriminalized in the near future. Out of the 50 states in America, over 30 of those have legalized medical marijuana programs, and about 14 of those have also legalized marijuana for adults to use recreationally. At this rate, it is only a matter of time before weed becomes legalized on a federal level.

Marijuana leaf on a metal hip flask

My guess is that this will occur within the next 10 years or so. But what will that look like at a ground level? Well, it’s hard to know for sure. But what we do know is that the current White House administration is looking to decriminalize weed and impose a federal excise tax on the cannabis industry. This would significantly change the incarceration rates for individuals who are caught using cannabis, and would also allow for previous offenders that are serving time for marijuana related charges to be expunged. So what would decriminalizing marijuana do for our great country? Well, there are actually lots of different benefits and opportunities that would be created by the complete federal legalization of cannabis. In this article, we are going to talk about a few of those. 

Firstly, decriminalizing cannabis would significantly impact veterans and their access to medical cannabis. When it comes to health care needs, one of the more in-need people groups in America are our very own veterans. Many veterans would testify in saying that their VA does not necessarily do a great job in aiding with the usage of cannabis for veterans that are suffering from chronic pain, diseases, PTSD, and other qualifying conditions. This is because veterans have had to seek the recommendation for medical marijuana usage from sources outside of the VA, which can be very expensive. Some veterans were not able to afford doctor visits outside of the VA, and thus could not get qualified and referred for medical marijuana coverage. Decriminalizing medical marijuana would make it so that veterans have a much easier time getting the medical treatment they need, and they would not need to pay out of pocket for other medical professionals to help. 

Secondly, legalizing medical marijuana on a federal level would allow states to make their own decisions regarding the use of cannabis and how their policies will be enforced. This means that states do not necessarily have to comply with the federal standards and let medical cannabis programs be utilized in their state. However, most states will probably go ahead and follow suit with the federal government. Over half the states in the United states currently have legalized medical marijuana, so it makes sense that federal decriminalization of the plant would encourage other states to do the same and cash in on that sweet tax revenue from the cannabis industry. I am looking forward to the day that medical marijuana is available to all patients who need it, regardless of the state that they live in.

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