DRUGS AND MEDICINE / It is blowing a legalization wind across North and South America, which is increasingly legalizing cannabis. Do we see the end of "The War on Drugs"?


Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana for anyone over 18 in 2013. Canada followed in 2018. This is a federal law that applies throughout Canada. In the United States, on the other hand, it is up to each state to make the laws, and many believe it will take decades to legalize marijuana across the country. On the other hand, it may be a matter of months Bernie Sanders become president. He has promised federal legalization as the first entry on the program.
December 31, 2019 was a different New Year's Eve in Chicago. For the first time since the 1930s, city residents over the age of 21 can smoke a joint without looking over their shoulder and buying different cannabis products over the counter in Chicago. Do we see the end of "The War on Drugs" that has ravaged American society over the last fifty years?

Jeff has a prescription for marijuana

I haven't been to any of the outlets that sell marijuana over the counter for leisure. In Evanston, a Chicago suburb, has the chain MEDMAR a small outlet. There are long queues outside, so it is better for my friend Jeff to make purchases. Jeff doesn't have to stand in line, because he has a prescription. A Krohn's diagnosis gives him the right to buy marihuana for medical use, which has been legal in Illinois for four years.

We park right outside. I give Jeff $ 100 and ask if he can take some pictures while he's in there. He nods and smiles and goes shopping.

Legal marijuana is already a billion-dollar industry in the United States.

After ten minutes he returns with a nice paper bag with the logo added MEDMAR. He shows me what he bought:

«Here we have ten THC drops of orange flavor, 7 grams of pot for you for 60 dollars and 14 grams for me for 100 dollars; I have a discount, you know. Here are two pre-rolled joints», he says and brings out the one.

I put the rest back in the bag, we split the joint as we drive home. It feels good to cruise through Evanston.
The outlet is run by the company MedMen and, according to Jeff, has an equally neutral interior as an exterior, without a single image on the walls. One of the chains that has sold marijuana in Washington state in recent years has admitted that Apple Stores has been an inspiration for the design of stores: white walls, glass displays and uniformed dispatchers.

Medmen Store
Medmen Store

Tax revenue to the local community

MedMen was established in California in 2010 and is the United States leading chain, with 32 stores in cities such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago and 1300 employees, according to the company's annual report for 2019.

In addition to retail sales, the listed company now produces cannabis products and 3marihuana at four large plants and is licensed to operate 12. Med Men is just one of several chains selling marijuana in the United States. In 2019, legal marijuana was sold for 12,4 billion dollars, in 2025 sales of 23 billion are expected according to Consumer Goods & FMCG.

Lawful marihuana is already a billionaire industry in the United States. Only in the first month after legalization in the state of Illinois, marijuana was sold for about $ 40 million, giving an annual estimate of nearly five billion Norwegian kroner, money that will now be taxed. 25 percent of the state's tax revenue from marijuana sales will be earmarked for the R3 program Restore, Reinvest and Renew.

Marlboro packages
Marlboro packages

«The successful launch of this new industry is a historic development for our state that will benefit the very communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the failed war on drugs.», stated the IDFPR (Illinois Department of Financial Regulation) in the report.

As of this writing, there are 33 states in the United States that allow medical use of marihuana and 11 which also allow recreational use. It's not long before Marlboro starts selling joints: The design of the cigarette package has been ready since the 1970s.

Nixon and the jazz legend

Louis Armstrong was the first celebrity arrested for smoking marijuana, in Los Angeles in 1930. When he was in Oslo in 1952, he brought a suitcase full of marijuana – marijuana and hashish were not banned here in the country until 1964. When the toller asked him what he had in his suitcase, he replied: "Jungle grass!" In 1953, when Armstrong flew home from Japan, he met Vice President Richard Nixon at the airport. Nixon was surprised to see the trumpet player and exclaimed: "Satchmo! What are you doing here?" Armstrong explained that he was going home after a trip as Goodwill Ambassador (to promote American democracy during the Cold War) and now he was heading for duty. Nixon grabbed Satchmo's suitcase and said, "Ambassadors don't have to go through customs!" The jazz legend's suitcase, filled with over a kilo of marijuana, was smuggled in by the US vice president. Later, a congressman informed Nixon of the accident after hearing the story from traveling musicians. An alarmed Nixon exclaimed: "Does Louis smoke marijuana?"

The war on drugs

For African American society, "The War on Drugs" has arguably been the most devastating, dysfunctional social policy since slavery. This is not a detached claim, but a call signed by 600 different denominations in the United States. The original ban was justified by Congress in part because "this was a substance that made white women sleep with colored men."

Alcohol surpasses all other substances in mortality and risk – both on the individual
plan and for society as a whole.

Marijuana became part of the youth culture of the 60s. Nixon's "War On Drugs" was also, or first and foremost, an attack on the peace movement and young people colored. During Nixon's 1968 election campaign, the United States was marked by the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. A growing peace movement and racial riots led Nixon to pick two enemies: the anti-war left side and black people, according to his former domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman.

"We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and responding with heroin, we could criminalize both," Ehrlichman said. "We could arrest their leaders. We could have raids, break up their meetings and destroy them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we lied about the drugs? Of course we did. ”

Marijuana. (Pixabay)
Marijuana. (Pixabay)

Marijuana judges have also kept colored away from the polling booths, as a narcotics judgment will lose voting rights.

In an Alabama election district, fewer than half of the male population had the right to vote in the 2012 election, and strong forces are working to further reduce that figure. Marijuana policy has so far been their preferred tool.

Last summer, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that of the 94 arrested for marijuana possession in the city, 76 were black, 16 Hispanic and two white. This is despite the use of marijuana in these ethnic groups to the same extent.

Alcohol is the most dangerous drug

The US authorities have reluctantly realized that the drug policy has been unsuccessful, and there is finally a new thinking about marijuana. It is time for alternatives to be offered alcohol, and marijuana is a milder drug, the most widely used argument sounds. Supporters use statistics and research in their line of argument: In states where marijuana is legalized, alcohol consumption has declined, analysts at Cowen say.

Hemp Seeds To Eat
Hemp seeds to eat. Photo: Pixabay

When using one calculation for the simulation and comparison of risk and toxicity (MOE – Margin of Exposure) showed German and Canadian

In 2015, researchers from the previous trial have suggested: Of all drugs – legal and illegal – are alcohol the most dangerous. Alcohol outperforms all other substances in mortality and risk – both at the individual level and for society as a whole. Further on the list are heroin, cocaine, nicotine and MDMA, while cannabis falls at the bottom of the table for daily use risk. The conclusion is that society is better served by prioritizing the harm and consequences of using legal means such as tobacco and alcohol.

The day before the legalization in Illinois, 1100 inmates were released and their marijuana verdicts erased from the scroll. Several of them will be offered to use their expertise to grow marijuana for the state. Big changes are underway.

Hemp, cannabis and marijuana

Marijuana is dried flowers (and some leaves) from the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa ssp. indicates), a subspecies of hemp (Cannabis sativa), which is one of our oldest cultural plants.

Hamp was grown as a source of fiber and food 8000 years before our time, in the area that is today's Turkey. Hemp produces more fiber than cotton, twice as much biomass as grain and four times as much pulp as trees per hectare.

The subspecies of the cannabis plant has varying content of the psychoactive substance THC (up to 20 percent), which provides intoxicating effects. Industrial hemp does not produce intoxicating effect. Hemp must contain less than 0,2 percent THC to be classified as industrial hemp, and from hemp fibers, textiles, sails, ropes and building materials can be made, and oil can be extracted from the seeds.

Industrial hemp can be used to make thousands of different hemp
products, from components to the automotive and computer industries to skin care products and supplements (hemp seeds are a good source of protein and omega-3).

Several designers have shown interest in hemp textiles in recent years, and Adidas has recently launched its hemp shoe. Levi's recently stated that they will be producing hemp jeans.

Hemp-based "plastic" is degradable and could have saved us many sorrows if it had only been possible. It is a very useful plant we are dealing with, with the roots planted also in our own Viking culture. [Hemp seeds were found in a leather purse in the Oseberg ship, and it is believed that hemp fibers were used for rope and canvas. We also recall that King Kristian V of Denmark-Norway provided the farmers injunctions about cultivating hemp in 1683, ed.]

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of 400 chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. CBD oil contains barely traceable amounts of THC (less than 1 percent) and therefore does not cause intoxication. Studies show that CBD oil can help with pain, cramps and anxiety, and many health enthusiasts therefore want CBD oil to be widely available. Much research remains on how marijuana can be used medically. Fortunately, legislation is different in Israel, which has become a world leader in cannabis research as a result of the United States' continued blockade of medical cannabis research. Israel is in the process of finding a number of medicines for various ailments based on the diverse cannabis species.

The United States has a tradition of prohibition. The alcohol prohibition in 1920–1933 laid the foundation for the mafia business in the United States. When the United Nations demanded an international ban on marijuana in 1961, under pressure from the United States, this led to a solid black market globally. "The War On Drugs" has created cartels with larger budgets than nation states. Industrial hemp was banned in the United States in 1937, but with "The Farm Bill 2018" industrial hemp was listed as an agricultural product. Previously, the United States had to import industrial hemp from China; today it is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. Hemp is on its way in, cotton is on its way out. In the US, it is expected that industrial hemp will be sold for $ 1,3 billion by 2022. Now it seems that the governing bodies, and also the UN, are ready to stake out a new way forward when it comes to illegal drugs. Much indicates that legalization and decriminalization is the direction in which it is headed.

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