For or against: the United States will vote on marijuana legalization

WASHINGTON, November 6 — RIA Novosti. Donald trump or Hillary Clinton?— is not the only question that will need to respond to American voters on 8 November. In nine States, U.S. citizens vote, in particular, for or against the legalization of marijuana.

So, residents of five States — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — will make a decision as to whether or not the sale of drugs in the so-called “entertainment” purposes. Another three States — Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota — are considering the legalization of marijuana for medical reasons. In Montana, in turn, can simplify the existing law on access to medical marijuana: voters offer to decide whether to increase the limit of patients in need of drug per doctor, and is it necessary to include post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of allow of his admission to diseases.

To date, the sale of marijuana for medical reasons is legal in 19 States and in Washington, DC (District of Columbia). Diseases that allow a patient to this medicine vary from region to region. Among these diseases — various types of cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis.

In four States — Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska, — narcotic drug is already available in “entertainment” purposes. For the “legalize” medical marijuana voted and in the Metropolitan area, however, is not yet a “road map” governing its sale.

It is interesting that, despite the legalization of marijuana in almost half the States, at the Federal level the drug is banned. This makes it impossible in particular to transport marijuana from one state with a “MC” to another, even if they have a common border, as, for example, Oregon and Washington. In addition, banks refuse transactions as a legal narcotic business, avoiding conflict with Federal banking law. One of the consequences of legislative confusion becomes the inability to pay off many marijuana dispensaries pharmacies a credit card.

Attributing marijuana to illegal substances at the same time does not interfere with Federal authorities to collect with producing cannabis companies taxes. As told RIA Novosti the representative of the organization Marijuana Policy Project, Morgan Fox, “they not only collect money but also impose a much heavier tax than other companies”.

In any case, the number of supporters of the legalization of this business in the US is only growing: according to a recent Gallup poll, for “legalize” are the 58% of Americans polled, while in 1969 the number supporting the initiative does not exceed 12%. In marijuana use admitted 13% of Americans, that is, almost double the survey results in 2013 (7%), according to data from Gallup.

A multimillion-dollar business

Special attention in this whole story would be confined to California — the richest American state with a population of many millions. This Western region was a pioneer in the legalization of marijuana: in 1996, California became the first state to permit the sale of the drug for medical reasons. The attempt to legalize marijuana in the entertainment industry was undertaken in 2000, however success it has not crowned.

If the people of California at this time, change your mind, “recreational” marijuana will be permitted throughout the West coast of the United States. In addition, the “legalize” in the largest American state can become a trigger that accelerates the process of decriminalizing marijuana at the Federal level.

Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project pays special attention to the financial implications of legalizing marijuana in California, which in terms of size and economy are actually highly equivalent to Germany and France, and throughout the country. “There is a large market, which in the past was controlled by criminal elements, and now he will be monitored by regulated business. Just by looking at the market volume, it is clear which amounts are no longer controlled by cartels and the like (organizations)”, — explained the RIA Novosti expert.

According to the study of website Marijuana Business Daily, marijuana market in the United States can achieve a tremendous amount to $ 44 billion by 2020. According to the Council on revenue forecasting and economic activity to Washington state tax revenue from legal sales of cannabis in the region in the next four years can exceed $ 1 billion, which is almost 1.5% of all tax revenues in the state budget.

High expectations from the outcome of the vote and the business community in Nevada, where the world-famous entertainment center of Las Vegas. According to the AP, the entrepreneurs hope that the “legalize” will open up opportunities for legitimate sale of cannabis clubs “Mecca” for lovers of relax to the fullest and will lay the foundations for the creation of a district in the heart of Amsterdam.

Experience Colorado

The pros for the US economy and say in Colorado, where marijuana is in “entertainment” purposes has been legalized. As writes the edition of the Washington Post, thanks to the industry of cannabis production in the state was established 18 thousand jobs, including workers in logistics, agriculture, lawyers and accountants.

In the first three months of trade in legal marijuana, the state Treasury has earned $ 7.3 million in taxes. Legislators in Colorado sent the proceeds from the sale to the development of schools and kindergartens, public education program. The staff began to beat the record attendance of 14 million tourists, who spent 4 billion ($700 million just for marijuana), according to the “Longwoods International”.

“Drug” tours in Colorado include a visit to the factory for processing hemp-themed shops and bars, as well as a lecture about how marijuana affects the body. They are for travellers over the age of 21 and are on average about $ 400 over the weekend.

As for the fact of drug laws, adults aged 21 or older can grow up to six marijuana plants, have up to one ounce (about 30 grams) during movement outside of the state, and give it as a gift for persons older than 21 years. Thus, the use in public places and driving is still illegal. In addition, the Denver airport has banned marijuana use on their territory and withdraws any amount from the security considerations.

To buy marijuana in Colorado in special shops, which are found throughout the state. Identify them on the green logo is different variations of the image of the plant to the green pharmacy cross.

Medical “coffee shops”

Although sale of marijuana is already allowed in four States and the District of Columbia public its use is not so simple. Familiar to residents and visitors of Amsterdam coffeeshops — cafés where you can legally enjoy a “Spliff” or a cake with hash and here it’s to drink in the US yet to find. However, this only applies to entertainment: for those who need marijuana for medical reasons, there are something like “social clubs”.

So, in Portland, Oregon, in 2009 we opened our first café with marijuana on the menu. Access to the school have only the holders of special medical cards, that is, only those who have been diagnosed. Members of the club pay a monthly fee in the amount of $ 25. For the money the visitors get prescription amount of drugs.

Will there be changes

Overall, despite all the legal complexities, Fox and his colleagues from the Marijuana Policy Project hope for a positive outcome of the vote on the “legalize” in all States. He explained that “the current policy of the Ministry of justice to intervene in States where marijuana is legal, if people comply with state law and criteria established by the Ministry of justice”.

“But this is only politics, not law. The law today is that the DOJ can’t spend money chasing users and manufacturers of medical marijuana. But that may change after the next batch of the budget law, because it contains there in the form of amendments. So until then, until Congress chooses to remove marijuana from the controlled substances act or does not accept any other law-and then it will be a question of legislation and not policy — the Ministry of justice will be able to intervene in state law. As a result, these States will remain vulnerable,” said Fox.

“We believe that after November will be far greater pressure on legislators at the Federal level… the closer we get to the fact that in most States, representing a majority of the population, had such laws, the more support we get, because people (in Congress) will use political capital to fight for that support most of their voters”, — says the representative of the organization.