There is a huge push to legalize cannabis across the country, where 30 states plus Washington, D.C. have some form of lawful marijuana, nine allowing for recreational use. However, some politicians and advocacy groups still staunchly opposed fear they will suffer “de facto” legalization of marijuana in their states if all or most surrounding states have passed laws allowing it.
Of course, with the majority of states now allowing marijuana (California being the first with medical marijuana legalization in 1996), this is not an invalid concern – nor a new one. It’s true there is conflict when bordering states have different marijuana laws. Issues arise when people travel – for work or school or leisure – and what is perfectly legal in one state is criminalized in the next.
The biggest problem is that marijuana is forbidden under federal law, still considered a Schedule I narcotic, highly addictive and with no legitimate medicinal purpose. Of course, that’s laughable in reality, but U.S. drug policy hasn’t historically been closely aligned with medicine or science or smart public policy. And yet, it has lower schedule classifications for opioids and amphetamines, which are unequivocally more addictive and dangerous.
Meanwhile, states that outlaw the drug completely or have extremely strict medicinal marijuana laws worry they’ll soon have no other choice but to follow suit. For marijuana advocates though, the question is, “Why wouldn’t you want laws that make the most sense for the people you serve?”
The legal marijuana market thrives in places like California, Colorado and Nevada, …