The legalization of marijuana, both medically and recreationally, is a pressing issue in the United States; however, it is becoming less controversial as more states pass laws in favor of medical marijuana.
According to a marijuana legalization status map posted on the website Governing: The States and Localities, medical marijuana is legal in 22 states, including Florida. Eight states have already legalized recreational marijuana; there is a possibility North Dakota and Michigan will join the club after this year’s midterm elections.
The question of whether or not Florida will eventually follow suit in legalizing recreational marijuana in 2020 remains a statewide debate.
With the growing legalization of medical marijuana, more dispensaries have opened in order to provide marijuana treatments to those with prescriptions. Knox Medical, a cannabis dispensary in Lake Worth, Fla., is one such company. Scott Klenet, the company’s public relations officer, offered his insight on the trend.
“Many of the [states legalizing medical marijuana] are looking at [the states who already legalized medical marijuana] and understanding that cannabis provides a very valuable alternative to medications and can be used in conjunction to conventional therapy,” Klenet said.
When asked about the legalization of recreational marijuana, Klenet steered his answer away from the subject and continued to focus on the medical side.
Ava Pence, a Florida resident and a medical marijuana advocate, has seen the benefits of cannabis. Her daughter suffers from epilepsy and medical marijuana helps stabilize her seizures. Pence shared her opinion regarding the possible legalization of recreational marijuana in Florida.
“I think a lot was done politically in Florida, but I can also understand the need for caution and to prevent a widespread marijuana culture in Florida, that is a concern,” Pence said.
Pence also noticed that the legalization of marijuana is beginning to reach across the political party lines.
“We need a more progressive president when it comes to this particular issue because this is not a red-blue issue,” Pence said. “This is becoming a bipartisan issue, so I just think it needs time.”
According to Forbes, the idea of a nationwide legalization of recreational marijuana is becoming more popular, especially since, Canada just declared its legalization. The political landscape has changed since the war on drugs, and the legalization of marijuana is getting less opposition as time progresses. Whether this negatively affects the country is ultimately up to the politicians and the voters.