Monday, November 28, 2016

Decriminalization or outright legalization of marijuana - - by Jody Lehrer

See - JURIST - The Most Significant Gain from Cannabis Legalization: One Lawyer's Perspective - by Jody Lehrer.  

This law article on decriminalization or outright legalization of marijuana is worth reading by Duterte and his DOJ, PDEA and PNP chiefs to align the archaic Philippine policies on medical marijuana or adult-use marijuana with current developments in the world.

As of now, our Congress has not acted upon a pending bill legalizing the use of medical marijuana in the Philippines.

The major points in this article written by American lawyer Jody Lehrer are as follows:

1. “With increasing frequency states are enacting laws, either through legislators or through voter initiatives, that are chipping away at long standing prohibitionary policies against cannabis possession that still exist undisturbed at the federal level.”

2. “While the most significant change is flat out legalization - as opposed to decriminalization - there is much more at stake than that a 21 year-old adult be able to choose to use marijuana, just as he or she chooses to drink alcohol.”

3. “There are significant beneficial socio-economic consequences of legalization of marijuana.”

4. “In many states, simple possession of cannabis, for personal use, is no longer a crime as possession is demoted to a mere civil offense carrying a fine much like what one would face for running a red light. Decriminalization by some states dates back to the 1970s.”

5. “Still other states have adopted laws that allow either for limited use of low THC strains of cannabis for just a few types of conditions (e.g., epilepsy) or for more expansive use of a many strains of cannabis, not just those containing low THC, for a wide array of debilitating medical conditions.”

6. “Other states are going even further and adopting laws (through ballot initiatives) that reject prohibition outright, legalizing cannabis for adults through a system of regulation and taxation, similar to the one that exists relative to alcohol.”

7. “In 2016, voters in four states (Massachusetts, Maine, California, and Nevada) legalized marijuana use by persons 21 or older, joining Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia, which had previously legalized cannabis for adult use.”

8. “Arguments supporting legalization (and attendant regulation and taxation) have included:

(a) That one should be able to choose what to put in one's body and be responsible for one's own choices and the consequences of them (the Libertarian argument);

(b) That cannabis has medicinal characteristics (this is already recognized in the many states that have legalized cannabis for medical purposes, which at the time of this writing total 28, with recent) medical cannabis legalization in North Dakota, Florida, and Arkansas);

(c) That the illicit market can be reduced;

(d) That public revenues can be increased though taxation;

(e) That jobs will be created;

(f) That limited law enforcement resources can be saved and used for other purposes such as for public health and safety;

(g) That marijuana arrests ruin lives.”

9. “Legalization eliminates criminal sanctions for everyone: no more targeting of minorities or the poor.”

Author of the Article:

Jody Lehrer is an MA attorney. She has published research on how municipalities zone for medical marijuana dispensaries and under what conditions, and has served for several years as an instructor on medical marijuana law and regulations. She represents parties interested in applying with the state's Department of Public Health to become Registered Marijuana Dispensaries.