13 Reasons to Vote Yes for Cannabis Legalization

Industry Gregory Frye 11/5/2016

Cannabis could very well reach a tipping point on November 8 with several states voting on cannabis legalization (both for adult use and medical).

However, a lot of people are on the fence about whether to vote yes or no for their local initiatives. Either they are uncertain about cannabis in general or aren’t quite satisfied with the proposed laws.

Here are several reasons to vote YES for cannabis. Feel free to add more reasons in the comment section below!

#1) Cannabis prohibition has zero scientific basis

 Marihuana Tax Act in 1937 by U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing; Imaging by Gwillhickers - U.S. Government; Dept. Internal Revenue; Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Public Domain.

Incredibly, there was zero science and plenty of racism involved when Harry Anslinger, the United States’ first “drug czar”, convinced Congress to pass the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937, marking the birth of federal cannabis prohibition.

Science was also left out of the equation when Richard Nixon (who ultimately resigned from the presidency under a criminal scandal) ignored the scientific report of his own drug commission, suggesting cannabis be decriminalized. Instead, he placed it as a schedule I substance in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

The more you dig into the history of cannabis prohibition, the more disturbing and shocking it is. As long as prohibition stands, it’s as if Anslinger and Nixon are still ruling from beyond the grave.

#2) Cannabis regulation keeps this substance away from minors

A lot of parents fear that if we legalize cannabis we will be making it easier for our children to get their hands on the stuff.

Evidence however is showing otherwise. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently found that in states with cannabis laws, teen usage is on a steady decline.

This makes a lot of sense when you consider the fact that proper regulation will extinguish the black market, making it very difficult for underage citizens to buy cannabis.

#3) Cannabis is a public health issue, not a criminal issue

For decades, reefer madness propaganda told us that cannabis users were very bad people, immoral rapists and murderers.

Most of us have long since realized that this is complete nonsense, and yet we live in a society that does still treats cannabis consumers like criminals.

Almost 650,000 people were arrested for cannabis in 2015 in the U.S., and 89 percent of these cases were for simple possession only. That is a lot of lives and families completely destroyed – and for what?

#4) Nobody has ever died from consuming cannabis

That’s right. Zero!

Sadly we cannot say the same thing about other legal substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and certain pharmaceuticals. Prescription drugs alone kill 100,000 Americans each year.

#5) The compounds in cannabis mimic what our body already produces naturally

Have you ever heard of the endocannabinoid system? It’s responsible for balancing almost every process in our bodies.

Cannabis just happens to be the perfect supplement for keeping this system in balance whenever it goes out of whack (see Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency).

As crucial as this system is for human health, very few doctors know about it because medical schools don’t teach it – thanks to stigma and prohibition.

Don’t you think physicians should be well-versed on one of the most important systems in our bodies (and how cannabis is often the best medicine to target that system)?

#6) We won’t be able to perfect the cannabis laws until after it is legalized

A lot of cannabis advocates are hesitant to vote YES on cannabis laws in their state because they’re not entirely satisfied with certain aspects of the proposed laws.

With so many differing visions of what cannabis legalization should look like, it’s very important to remember that first we have to legalize it so people stop getting arrested.

We can always go back and fine-tune these laws later. In fact, the cannabis laws will undoubtedly require a lot of fine-tuning over the years no matter what. Perfection is a fallacy.

In a recent interview with Green Flower, NORML’s Paul Armentano said it best:

"These policies, from the way we as a society address marijuana – how it's consumed to how it's market is regulated – are going to be an ongoing evolutionary process. They are no doubt going to change over time."

#7) A lot of people are still afraid to even talk about cannabis

This is a big one. I don’t think any of us have any idea how many closet smokers are out there. I’m talking about extremely successful people who add value to our society every day.

If these people were to come out and share how cannabis positively impacts their lives, if we had some sort of National Coming Out Day for cannabis consumers, it would change how a lot of people see this plant – and it would crush those outdated stigmas which are so harmful.

As long as people are afraid to talk about cannabis, a subject still incredibly taboo and illegal in many areas, all those harmful misconceptions will continue to persist.

#8) Corporate and political interests have no right to dictate what we put into our bodies

Over the past eight decades, prohibition has spawned or empowered entire industries. We’re talking about very large corporations that could lose a lot of money or collapse entirely once cannabis prohibition comes to an end.

These vested interests make up some of the biggest donors to anti-cannabis campaigns and lobbying, including prison guard unions, police unions, drug testing companies, pharmaceutical companies, alcohol companies, and tobacco companies.

Many of these organizations donate a lot of money and time to anti-cannabis campaigns, spreading harmful lies and misinformation about this plant. A lot of them also contribute to political campaigns in the hope that politicians will work in their favor (against cannabis).

The only way to defeat this vicious cycle is to educate ourselves and VOTE.

#9) Cannabis is a proven harm reduction method

The right strains of cannabis can help to increase appetite, allow people sleep through the night peacefully, elevate their mood, decrease seizures, and much more.

Some call it harm reduction; others call it substitution – the fact is most cannabis consumers are consciously choosing this plant over dangerous substances including opioids, heroin, and alcohol.

In other words, cannabis is not a gateway drug as the unfounded myth would have us believe; evidence shows that it’s actually an exit drug for a lot of people.

Amanda Reiman from DPA was one of the first people to conduct a study on this phenomenon in 2009, and we’ve also seen a 25 percent drop in opioid fatalities in states with medical cannabis laws.

Imagine how significant that drop would be – how many lives we could save – once cannabis is more widely accepted and understood.

#10) Cannabis prohibition has destroyed countless lives

Between 2001 and 2010, 8.2 million people were arrested for cannabis. 88 percent of these people were arrested for mere possession – and there’s also the unfortunate fact that blacks are – on average – almost 4 times more likely than whites to be arrested for cannabis.

Think about the long-term consequences all these people face after being convicted. Loss of freedom, financial hardships, difficulty finding work, or even securing college loans – just to name a few. A lot of very bad things happen to a person convicted of a crime.

People medicating with cannabis have also lost custody of their children, have lost their jobs, and so much more.

Make no mistake: cannabis legalization – above all – is a social justice issue.

#11) The war on drugs has warped almost all of the country’s institutions

Prohibition has created a deep mistrust toward the entire system. It’s turned otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals, cultivating a harmful resentment towards law enforcement and wasting billions of tax dollars.

Even in states with medical cannabis laws, people are still being unfairly arrested every day. Some doctors are even referring their patients to drug abuse programs when they find out they’re using cannabis.

When you have all of these institutions that turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals, and you’ve got institutions refusing to acknowledge the medical or therapeutic value of cannabis – you’re looking at the greatest con of the century.

Prohibition does absolutely nothing to reduce the number of cannabis users and it has cost us dearly in ways that we will never be able to quantify.

If you vote against cannabis (or don’t vote at all), one could argue you’re voting to continue the lies, the injustices, and the devastating patterns of prohibition.

#12) Voting YES will send a clear message to government agencies

We don’t appreciate being lied to about cannabis. We don’t want our tax dollars being funneled into this 80-year con game for the sake of corporate or political greed (and at the expense of health, progress, freedom, and justice).

Cannabis is medicine, and when used wisely and responsibly it can add serious value to a person’s life. We have every right to this plant.

This November is our chance to knock prohibition on its ass so that we can finally begin to pick up the pieces and slowly start to fix all the damage that has been done.

#13) The world is watching

The 2016 election has been one of the most volatile, controversial campaigns in history. And even if you’re one of the many people who don’t like any of the choices among presidential candidates, don’t let that stop you voting for the new cannabis laws.

If most of these states pass, prohibition is all but finished. And once the United States legalizes cannabis on a federal level, a lot of other countries will follow suit (several have already beat us to it).

We all have a role to play in rectifying the horrific nightmare that prohibition has caused.

If you agree that cannabis should be legalized, please share this article with friends and followers. Let’s keep spreading the word!

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