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Oregon: First State to Decriminalize All Drugs

Oregon becomes the first state to officially decriminalize the possession and personal use of all drugs.

Oregon voters approved the ballot measure in November that went into effect on Monday Feb.1. Measure 110 allows citizens to possess small amounts of drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines without facing serious penalties such as jail time. Instead, citations similar to traffic tickets will be issued to violators.

“This law is meant to protect people against persecution, harassment and criminalization at the hands of the state for using drugs and instead given access to the supports they need,” said executive director Kassandra Frederique of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Though Measure 110 allows for the possession of small amounts of marijuana, possessing large amounts of drugs could ensue a misdemeanor charge. Oregon joins the list of states that are making monumental changes in legislation for drugs such as cannabis an others. Measure 110 also offers greater accessibility to resources for addiction assistance and other health services.

Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota voters recently approved ballot measures for cannabis for adult use. In total, 15 states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized cannabis. The majority of southern states have legalized marijuana for medicinal use excluding Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina where marijuana is downright illegal. The map below retrieved from disa.com displays which states have or haven’t legalized marijuana medically and/or recreationally.

The South trails behind.

The south has slowly trailed behind in passing laws for recreational marijuana use. As Biden won Georgia in the Presidential Election, results from the state’s tallies prove the political climate of Georgia is shifting. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock secured two spots in the Senate dealing a favorable hand for Democrats. Chances that the state would potentially back legislature regarding the approval of recreational marijuana use are higher.

What if recreational marijuana was passed in the South?

Lighting up blunts in music videos has always been a signature visual in rap and hip-hop videos and marijuana has longtime been associated with the music genres. If legislature was passed allowing recreational cannabis use, the use of cannabis at concerts could become the norm. Not only would music fans in the South “fye up” in the crowds, but cannabis vendors could be at fans disposal to reup.

Legal recreational cannabis use in the South could be a new wave. The cannabis industry is a profitable market and the South could benefit if the opposing states switch gears and follow suit. Political leaders in states who are on already board have projected hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for their states with the passing of recreational marijuana use. Artists like Nas, Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z have already invested in the cannabis industry and recently, T.I. invested a hefty $4 million in a partnership with a Georgia-based cannabis and retail company. If southern states jump in, other artists could be expected to invest in the booming cannabis industry, further depthening marijuana’s relationship with the hip-hop and rap music genre.

 

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