This week, a top committee of the United Nations World Health Organization has recommended that world leaders rethink the global prohibition of marijuana, bringing worldwide cannabis reform one step closer to becoming a reality.
The U.N. currently classifies cannabis as a Schedule Four drug. Schedule Four is a category reserved for extremely addictive and dangerous drugs that have no accepted medical use, like heroin or crack.
Last November, the World Health Organization’s. Expert Committee on Drug Dependence decided to re-evaluate whether this extreme classification is still relevant in the 21st Century. After considering mountains of scientific evidence, the committee has now recommended that cannabis should be moved to Schedule One – the least restrictive drug category.
The committee also recommended that CBD should not be considered a restricted drug at all. This decision is only a recommendation, however, and it is ultimately up to a commission of 53 individual countries to decide whether or not to officially relax the global prohibition of marijuana.
Back home the U.S., the great city of Baltimore has just joined the push to bring social justice to some of the millions of Americans who have been jailed for minor cannabis crimes.
Last week, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that her office will stop prosecuting marijuana possession cases. The prosecutor also requested that city courts clear the convictions for nearly 5,000 current pot possession offenders.
At a press conference, Mosby said that “No one who is serious about public safety can honestly say that spending resources to jail people for marijuana use is a smart way to use our limited time and money.”
Baltimore currently has the highest murder rate of any U.S. city, but city police were only able to solve 26% of all of last year’s murder cases. Mosby argued that cops need to stop wasting time and resources on busting people for weed, and focus their efforts on violent crime.
Unfortunately, Baltimore police are not on board with State Attorney Mosby’s plans, and have said that they will continue to arrest anyone caught with weed. At the very least, anyone still getting busted can rest easier knowing that carrying a bag of pot may no longer leave them with a permanent criminal record.
And in nearby Pennsylvania, lawmakers have just introduced a bill to legalize pot entirely.
The new bill, filed by state Representative Jake Wheatley and 25 co-sponsors, would allow anyone over 21 to grow, buy, use, and possess pot. The bill would also include measures of social justice, clearing the records of former pot offenders and requiring the release of anyone currently doing time for minor weed crimes.
Taxes from retail sales could bring the state an estimated $500 million a year, and Wheatley said that he would use half of this revenue to help reduce student loan debt for graduates of Pennsylvania schools. Another 40 percent would go to fund affordable housing, and the final 10 percent would go to support after-school care programs.
It is not yet certain whether the bill has a chance of becoming law, considering that both the state House and Senate are controlled by Republicans. However, Governor Tom Wolf has recently argued that it is time for the Keystone State to consider legalization, and his support might just turn that “no” vote to a “yes.”
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