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420 with CNW — Decriminalization or Legalization: Understanding the Difference

From the early 1970s, the United States has waged an intensive campaign against drugs; the movement has been dubbed the “war on drugs.” Seeking to financially cut off the criminal gangs that supply illicit drugs as well as mitigate the physical harm done by said drugs to users, the government doled out harsh sentences to those caught selling and buying drugs. However, decades later, it is evident that the war on drugs did more harm than good, with the Global Commission on Drug Policy declaring it a failure in a 2011 report.

The past decade has seen attitudes towards certain drugs, especially cannabis, change. On top of increased recreational use, scientific studies have found that the controversial drug has medicinal properties. In the U.S., only 15 states haven’t legalized cannabis in some form, and after the November elections, the chances of the drug being federally decriminalized are quite high. President-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris have both stated their support for the decriminalization of adult cannabis use and legal medical cannabis.

With the way the terms “decriminalize” and “legalize” are thrown around, it’s easy for misunderstandings to arise. For instance, plenty of people falsely believe that decriminalizing cannabis means allowing it to be sold and consumed as easily as alcohol or tobacco. However, decriminalizing a drug simply means that people caught with small amounts of the drug wouldn’t face criminal charges and jail time. Instead, they would be fined and entered into a drug recovery program.

Those caught selling the decriminalized drug would still face criminal charges. The only difference is that drug users won’t be penalized for possessing small amounts of drugs, they’ll be given the help they need.

On the other hand, legalization doesn’t mean folks can freely buy, sell, and grow the drug. Countries and states that have legalized certain drugs create a regulated and taxed market where licensed sellers can produce and sell the drugs to adults aged 21 years old and older. Additionally, consumers typically are limited in the amount of the drug they can purchase and possess at a given time. As long as both the sellers and customers adhere to the rules governing the market, they will face no fines or jail time.

Biden and Harris are intent on the national decriminalization of marijuana. If they succeed, people caught with small amounts won’t be fined or jailed, as per federal law. However, buying and selling cannabis will only be restricted to states that have legalized it and created a legal framework to govern the market.

Many companies have sprouted in the jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana in some form. One of the notable companies is Gage Cannabis Co., based in Michigan. The company is aiming to become the top brand in the state, before setting its eyes on becoming a multistate operator.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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