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Politics Of Cannabis

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The Politics of Cannabis

The MORE ACT is a being considered and pushed by Democrats to be put to a vote later this year. The MORE Act is being reported on more and more and is gaining some mainstream media attention. The MORE Act would remove penalties for marijuana possession, erase some criminal records, and create grant and opportunity programs for people and communities adversely impacted by the decades of “wars on drugs” as recently reported by Politico.com

However, mainstream push back against this bill is being voiced in clear and undeniable terms. Many Republicans allege that to focus on marijuana legalization right now is “risky” as reported by Politico news source. Politico is quoted as reporting “they argue legalization is a racial justice issue, but critics question the timing in the midst of a pandemic and high-stakes presidential contest”.

“Timing” is a vague and often used term thrown out when one obviously disagrees, but it is not politically correct to simply disagree. I have witnessed Donald Trump speak to the timing of visiting grave sites of fallen soldiers. Why not just publicly say, I am not doing that? Well, because to blame timing is always to take the focus away from one’s contention against what is being presented.

Politico reports Democrats say “The timing is perfect” as support has been gaining traction for loosening marijuana restrictions over recent years. Politico reports 66% of Americans favor legalization including over 50% of Republicans. Many see the racial disparities that exist in enforcing marijuana policies, police killings of unarmed non threatening Black people, and economic stratification as all encompassed under the need for racial justice in America.

Now enter the politics of the situation. Politico reports the White House may block Coronavirus and unemployment benefits if Nancy Pelosi pushes the MORE ACT and forces a vote. It is alleged that the bill is known to be dead on arrival, but Democrats simply want to get the ball rolling this election.  

There is also the stigma of marijuana that Republicans are playing on for political leverage. While 66% of Americans support legalization, America is still victim to the language of fear mongering in relation to “thugs, criminals, and BLM terrorists”. Are Americans ready to forsake the billions of dollars states and the federal government generate from incarcerating people over cannabis and cannabis related “crimes”? It is one thing to abstractly say I support legalization. It is another to accept that the “thugs” politicians and Trump consistently speaks of are often the stigmatized and marginalized people and communities being directly affected by criminal cannabis regulations. Simply put, is America going to eliminate the billion-dollar prison industry complex over cannabis because it is the right thing to do?

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