The US government has announced plans to decriminalise marijuana by 2022. This means that possession of a small amount will only result in a civil penalty, such as a fine. It also means that grow operations and drug dealing are not crimes anymore, but instead simple misdemeanours.
What is decriminalization either in general or specifically for cannabis?
Decriminalization is a term used to describe the removal of criminal penalties for certain behaviors without changing the legal status of the substance or person. This term is often applied to drug offenses, particularly cannabis offences.
There are two main types of decriminalization: partial and total. Partial decriminalization allows for the use of cannabis while still maintaining criminal penalties for those who engage in underage possession, cultivating more than six plants, selling or giving away cannabis to someone under 21 years old, etc. Total decriminalization removes all criminal penalties for cannabis use and possession.
Currently, 23 states have some form of decriminalization in place. Eighteen of these states have total decriminalization, while five have partial decriminalization. The remaining seven states have laws that are hybrids, meaning that some offenses remain criminalized, while others are decriminalized.
Will decriminalization of marijuana speed up the process of legalization?
There is a lot of debate surrounding the decriminalization of marijuana, with some people thinking that it will speed up the process of legalization while others think that it will do the opposite.
The truth is that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this issue. It all depends on what the goals of legalization are. If the goal is to reduce crime and bring down drug abuse rates, then decriminalization might be a good step.
On the other hand, if the goal is to legalize marijuana completely and regulate it like alcohol, then decriminalization might not be necessary. The government could simply pass laws criminalizing marijuana use instead.
What will it mean for cannabis consumers?
If marijuana is decriminalized in the US, it will mean big changes for cannabis consumers and make it legal to buy weed online. For one, it will likely mean that cannabis products will no longer be classified as Schedule I drugs. This means that they will be less restricted and more accessible, making them easier to find and purchase.
Another major change would be the way law enforcement handles marijuana possession. Right now, possession of marijuana is a criminal offense in the US. If marijuana is decriminalized, law enforcement officers would instead focus on more serious offenses, such as drug trafficking or violence. This would free up resources to focus on more serious crimes.
Implications for businesses, regulators and taxing authorities
The US marijuana industry is growing rapidly, with some estimates projecting that the market could reach $20 billion by 2030. This rapid growth has led to concerns about how the government will deal with the burgeoning marijuana industry.
One option would be to decriminalize marijuana. This would mean that the government would not prosecute people for possessing or using small amounts of marijuana. Instead, they would be treated like a misdemeanor, with penalties including fines and/or community service.
This approach has some implications for businesses. For one, it could lead to a proliferation of dispensaries across the country. This is because it would be much harder for the government to crackdown on these businesses once they are decriminalized. In addition, it may lead to an increase in consumer spending on marijuana products.
Regulators and taxing authorities will also have to adapt to this changing landscape. For example, banks may become reluctant to provide services to dispensaries due to potential legal risks. In addition, new regulations will need to be put in place governing the production, sale and use of marijuana products.