By Ms. April Veinte

Change is the only constant in life.  The more we know, the easier it is to adapt.  The Cannabis or Marijuana industry is undergoing major changes, and full legalization, medical and recreational use is at the forefront of many discussions.  As one of the fastest growing commodities in the world, it is important that we debunk the myths and learn the facts about marijuana legalization.


Myth #1: Full Marijuana Legalization is Pro-Monopoly

Many growers and marijuana distributors are concerned that full legalization will open the industry to big business takeovers.  Never say never, but this is very unlikely.  According to current legislation, there are anti-monopoly requirements which block large scale licenses from being granted during the initial five years.  Following this initial five year “waiting period”, regulators have the option of upholding the block indefinitely.  Small to medium scale businesses can apply for licensing wherever full legalization has already taken place. (Most recently, California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada).  Current guidelines for these licenses are similar to that of craft beer breweries or small independent wineries.


Myth #2: California Has Legalized Recreational Marijuana

Although California was known for being a pioneer in medical marijuana, in the past, recreational marijuana will still get you arrested within the state.  Yes, measures were passed in November which legalized recreational marijuana use.  However, federal laws have not changed and in most cases supersede state laws.  Although medical marijuana serves as a defense, you are still susceptible to being searched, booked, arrested, and brought to court.  More importantly, if do not have a solid legal defense, you could end up in jail, pay hefty fines, and get a negative mark on your record.  Having a police record may give you street credibility, but many have learned that a drug conviction can adversely affect your employment, housing, or even education.


Myth #3: Marijuana Legalization Will Encourage Use Among Teens

The most common concern which surrounds marijuana legalization is its possible effect on teens.  According to the opponents of marijuana legalization, ending its prohibition can serve as an endorsement for young people to start using the drug.  However, studies have shown time and time again that there is no correlation between increase in marijuana use among teens and marijuana legalization.  So I will go on record and say, concerns or claims about marijuana legalization increasing use among teens is baseless and false.


Myth #4: Legalizing Marijuana Will Lead to More Cases of DUI

With the psychoactive effects of cannabis, legalization opponents claim that there will be an increase in vehicular accidents due to marijuana users driving under the influence.  Although it is true that large marijuana doses can affect psychomotor perception and performance, research from states with legalized marijuana proved that this is an unwarranted concern.  A study conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance discovered that traffic fatalities in Colorado (full legalization state) dropped by 3% in comparison to the same timeframe in 2016.  A study in 2013 published in The Journal of Law and Economics revealed the same conclusions, legalization of marijuana was associated with the sharp decreases in traffic fatalities and alcohol consumption.  Additional studies conducted at Colby College also showed a decrease in DUIs in states that have legalized marijuana use.


So in summation, make sure to stay up-to-date regarding the laws in your home state.  Hopefully, you have learned something new and can share a fact or two during your next smoke session.  Remember, this article is not intended to be legal advice.  Please consult your state officials for more information.  Until next time, stay irie friends!


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