Shifting drug policy: the politics of marijuana in the 21st century
Baker, Zathan S.
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Medical and recreational marijuana legalization, and public acceptance, is in a rapid state of change across the nation. Currently, there are 20 states along with the District of Colombia that have medical marijuana laws. Each of these state governments has passed legislation on a drug for medical purposes, in which the federal government maintains there was, and still remains, no basis for medical use. Additionally, Colorado and Washington have recently passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana use. These state laws are in conflict with the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and place marijuana in a simultaneous legal and illegal status. This thesis will examine the history of the war on drugs and the role marijuana has filled in traditional policy. Conflicting state and federal marijuana laws, and various shifting international policies will be addressed in order to better understand the future strategic implications of staying with current policies or shifting to new ones. For the general public and policy makers alike, the most productive path forward is one examines the historical background, acknowledges current domestic and international perspectives, and gives equal weight to research of all possible solutions.
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