Has Cannabis Become a Non-Partisan Issue?

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Shanti Ryle - Content Writer

Jun 27 2021 - 3 min read

For nearly 100 years, cannabis has stirred the pot (excuse our phrasing) as a hot-button political topic. We all know its stereotypical legacy in the US: liberal-minded coastal hippies are pro-cannabis legalization while conservative Bible Belt and central, rural inhabitants equal anti-cannabis legalization. Today, the West Coast has fully legalized and regulated recreational cannabis, whereas many states on the East Coast operate medical marijuana programs. And yet, the last few decades have revealed a shifting attitude towards cannabis and its use.

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A “domino effect” of sorts is rippling throughout the US, with even traditionally conservative states like Arizona, in 2021, legalizing cannabis for recreational use. Even Alabama and Texas governments have implemented limited programs permitting the medical use of CBD.

So what precisely is happening? Are conservatives turning into hippies? Or are we seeing something rather more special: cannabis bringing people together for a common cause – the freedom to take the medicine you want to take?

What’s Happening in Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana legalization is an issue that cuts across the usual partisan politics. Both liberals and conservatives have “law-and-order” authoritarians and libertarian-leaning anti-state types in their midst. Indeed, if you look closely at the opposing parties you will see that there are several areas where typical left vs. right politics break down, and the War on Drugs is one of them.

(See also William F. Buckley’s stance on land, Ivan Illich on schooling or Murray Rothbard’s journal.)

Cannabis and The Free Market

Many US citizens pride themselves on notions such as freedom, individual choice, and a free market. It should perhaps be no surprise that many have started to vote against the arbitrary laws that prevent them from consuming cannabis.

Cannabis is also a massive and growing industry, and shutting down enterprise is a decidedly un-American thing to do. The incarceration of individuals for a personal choice that harms none is particularly grating: and reparations for this are indeed one of the main issues those in the cannabis industry champion.

Medical Cannabis Helps with Aging

There is another factor to consider: people are getting older. The US is an aging demographic (like most developed nations) and many citizens are experiencing the conditions that usually come with old age. In this scenario, doctors typically prescribe highly addictive opioids to manage these people’s pain, leading to a significantly reduced quality of life and an essentially “zombified” state of being. Cannabis can provide seniors with much-needed relief from these ailments, and if the biggest block of voters around (seniors) are keen on cannabis, they will vote for it.

Download Your Guide to Medical Marijuana & Seniors.

Medical Cannabis Research is Growing

The other important factor to consider is the amount of scientific research coming out supporting cannabis as a treatment or aid for many conditions.

Denying a dying child cannabis medicine that could eliminate their cancer or an epileptic a substance that could reduce their number of seizures is extremely unethical in most reasonable people’s eyes. Furthermore, preventing a parent from trying to save their child’s life leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, no matter what politics a person adheres to.

The Future of Marijuana Legalization

Of course, not all the states in the US have legalized cannabis recreationally or medically, and massive discrepancies exist from city-to-city, county-to-county. One area is full of dispensaries and growers, and another completely free from them, all thanks to local resistance and regulations. Cannabis seems to be less of a partisan issue nowadays and more so a local, cultural one.

Decisions about whether people from a particular area will accept legal cannabis in their backyards will come down to local politics rather than state or even federal laws. We are already seeing this today: as one jurisdiction makes growing and trading cannabis an arrestable offense and, in another, the cannabis industry is welcomed with open arms. The fight for a federally legalized cannabis starts and will be won on this local level.

If you’re interested in getting a medical marijuana card, you can get started with Leafwell today.


Written by
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Shanti Ryle

Shanti Ryle is a content marketer with more than half a decades’ experience writing about cannabis science and culture. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Weedmaps News/Marijuana.com, Wall Street Journal, and other publications.

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