Marijuana Legalization has a complicated history with America. The plant is still federally classified as an illegal drug, but recreational legalization of the drug has been spreading across the nation since 2012. What will happen to those convicted of possessing or selling marijuana – especially people who are serving sentences in jail – after the federal government legalizes it recreationally?
The History of Marijuana Legalization in the U.S.
Cannabis has been used in the United States since the early days of the country. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp, and it was an important crop in early America. However, cannabis was not widely used as a recreational drug until the early 20th century.
The history of cannabis in the United States is closely tied to race and ethnicity. Cannabis was initially associated with Mexican immigrants, and later with African Americans. It was not until the 1960s that cannabis began to be associated with white people.
The criminalization of cannabis began in the early 20th century, and there have been many laws and regulations enacted since then. These laws have disproportionately affected minority groups, and there is a growing movement to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
The Current Legal Status of Marijuana
Marijuana is currently a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which means that it is illegal to manufacture, distribute, or possess marijuana for any purpose. However, many states have enacted their own laws legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes. As a result, there is a great deal of confusion about the legal status of marijuana.
In states where marijuana is legal for medicinal or recreational purposes, individuals are generally able to obtain licenses to grow and sell marijuana. However, in states where marijuana is still illegal, individuals who sell or possess marijuana can be subject to criminal penalties. This can include jail time and hefty fines.
Those who have been convicted of selling or possessing marijuana may find it difficult to get jobs, obtain loans, and rent apartments. Additionally, they may be required to undergo regular drug testing and may be prohibited from participating in certain activities, such as volunteering at schools or coaching youth sports teams.
What Happens to Those Convicted of Selling or Possessing Marijuana?
In the United States, those who are caught selling or possessing marijuana are typically subject to harsh criminal penalties. However, with the growing movement to legalize recreational cannabis, many states are reconsidering their approach to marijuana-related offenses.
In general, those convicted of selling or possessing marijuana face a range of possible penalties, including jail time, fines, and probation. In some states, a marijuana-related conviction can also lead to the loss of driving privileges or professional licenses.
While the penalties for selling or possessing marijuana vary from state to state, they typically become more severe if the offense is committed in an area where children are present or if large quantities of the drug are involved.
How Marijuana Legalization Could Affect Offenders
Currently, there are a number of people serving jail time or with criminal records for selling or possessing marijuana. If legalization of recreational cannabis occurs, these individuals could potentially have their records expunged or be released from jail.
This would be a major victory for those who have been unjustly incarcerated for nonviolent offenses. It would also provide some relief to overcrowded prisons and jails. In addition, it would allow these individuals to re-enter society and contribute to the legal cannabis industry.
However, some people believe that those with marijuana convictions should not be given preferential treatment. They argue that everyone should have to follow the same rules and regulations in order to participate in the legal cannabis market.
Ultimately, it is up to each individual state to decide how they will handle marijuana offenders if recreational cannabis is legalized.