When we talk about the status of cannabis legalization in New Zealand, we come to know that the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 considers cannabis an illegal drug. Individuals who use or supply cannabis get punishment according to their laws and regulations.
Considering the prospects of cannabis, Helen Clark Foundation has released a report. This report stands as an advocate for legalizing and regulating cannabis. Furthermore, there is going to be a referendum next year that will decide the future of cannabis in New Zealand. Hence, the people of New Zealand have the opportunity to decide which direction to follow.
It is an obvious fact that the effect on people’s behavior is least by the fear of criminal sanctions. They do whatever they like or want to do. Despite the fact that cannabis is illegal in New Zealand, reports from longitudinal studies indicate that 80% people living in New Zealand have tried cannabis at least once by the age of 25.
Therefore, the approaches of prohibition have not eliminated and will not eliminate cannabis usage and supply in New Zealand or any other country where its consumption is exhibited.
Less harmful than alcohol and tobacco
According to the British scientist David Nutt, former chair of the Advisory Council, on the Misuse of Drugs, the use of cannabis is really less damaging to human health as compared to other drugs like alcohol and tobacco.
This is the reason many countries have legalized the usage and supply of cannabis. Uruguay, Canada and many other states in the United States Of America have legalized the use and supply of cannabis.
Without the legalization of cannabis, considerable ethnic disparities in prosecution and arrest for cannabis-related business are also likely to continue.
Certainly, the current system in the New Zealand relating to drugs is terribly unfair for the Indigenous people, Maori. They carry an unequal and unjust burden of the convictions and sentences for drug-related offending. The Indigenous people, Maori are almost 15% of the total population of New Zealand. Yet Maori between the ages of 17 to 24 make up 37% of all the prosecutions and convictions for drug possession which is totally unfair to them.
But the positive sign is that the ruling party of the New Zealand is eager to lessen the number of prisoners. They can achieve this objective in a moderate way with the legalization of cannabis in the country.
This is the right time for the people of New Zealand to admit and accept the prevalent consumption of cannabis in the region and to regulate and legalize it systematically. They achieve no productive aim by declaring its status illegal. There is a dire need of cannabis legalization.
There would be many benefits if the New Zealanders vote in favor of the cannabis legalization in the upcoming referendum. It would not only be a positive sign for the social justice but also for a balanced society. It would also play a vital role in diminishing the country’s large prison population. Cannabis related health issues would also be resolved.
People Of Color Hit With Brunt Of Cannabis Arrests
Cannabis is an illicit drug but lawmakers’ efforts to legalize and decriminalize marijuana activities. Some states have legalized medical and recreational use of marijuana, but others are discussing making the final decision.
The situation has produced confusion as some individuals think the possession of marijuana is legal already by law, but it is not, says The City. As a result, large-scale imprisonment occurs in many states.
In 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his plan to legalize cannabis. However, a final decision has not yet occurred. As a result, many Black New Yorkers are getting arrested. Moreover, people of color in New York receive summonses at vastly disproportionate rates.
According to Allan Gandelman, the state must legalize cannabis activities and include productive-measures into the legislation for better outputs. So that Blacks and other people in minorities get justice.
Data Analysis Regarding Cannabis Arrest
According to an analysis of NYPD data by the Legal Aid Society, 94% of the Black And Latinos in New York face arrest and summons in 2020. Moreover, according to an analysis report, 57% of arrested New Yorkers were Black, and 35.7% were Latino. According to the Census Bureau, concerning the population, the city has 24% Black population and 29% Latino.
Moreover, the analysis data elaborates that people of color face more imprisonment and summons regarding marijuana activities than any other citizen. Other individuals get free passes while Black and Latino have to pay penalties or go to prison for the same action as done by others.
According to Anthony Posada, Blacks and Latinos are suffering from injustice in the marijuana business.
In 2019 the number of arrests and summons was 16411. However, in 2020 the number decreased to 10811, yet the percentage of Black and Latino arrests remained the same through-out the pandemic.
As a result of disproportionate arrests and summons, the Black and Latinos are suffering immensely. Therefore, members of the Legal Aid Society are requesting to pass the legalization bills as soon as possible.
Cuomo Response To Legalizing Marijuana Bills
Passing the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act on governors’ approval will end the disproportionate arrests and summon cycle. This will put an end to the sufferings of the people of color and provide equal rights to them, resulting in racial justice and equity.
During the 2018 elections, Governor Cuomo promised to legalize marijuana, but he did nothing to bring it to action. Moreover, in the following year, Cuomo showed a lack of support towards the legalization of cannabis.
In 2020, lawmakers were hopeful that the governor would pass the bill. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the matter remains unsolved. Moreover, the governor is currently trying to pass through the state’s annual budget process legislation regarding marijuana. Furthermore, he designed the marijuana legislation himself.
The governor desires to pass his own designed bill that enables delivery services and provides marijuana equity funds worth $100 million. The funds will also be used to provide substance use disorder treatment, financial literacy help, and jobs.
Some lawmakers agree with the state’s legislature, but others recommend passing Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act. With both bills, legalization will occur. Moreover, legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana is the need of the hour. However, with the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act, the government will collect about 30% to 50% of tax. But with the state’s legislature-plan, only 18% will be the tax rate.
Allan Gandelman is NY Cannabis Growers and Processors Association President. Gandelman appreciates MRTA-efforts that allow the growth of marijuana, home-delivery, weed microbusinesses, and funding for social-equity applicants. Moreover, he understands the importance of legalizing marijuana bills.
Hope Wiseman Breaks Barriers In Marijuana Industry
The marijuana industry has certain limitations due to which minorities, including people of color, are unable to participate and run cannabis-related businesses.
Moreover, people of color contribute less than two percent to the cannabis industry. That is because black individuals are under restrictions by law to participate in the marijuana business. Now, however, lawmakers are making efforts to legalize cannabis federally and make amendments to existing regulations. Furthermore, a new bill regarding cannabis approval will provide equal rights to minorities as that of the majority.
The 29-year-old Hope Wiseman is breaking all barriers by becoming the youngest black dispensary owner, reported cbs news. She is a native of Maryland and runs her marijuana dispensary there. By her actions, she provides an opportunity to show other people of color away to create generational wealth.
Wiseman Marijuana Dispensary
Hope Wiseman founded her marijuana dispensary in Prince George’s County, Maryland, under the name “Mary and Main.” Hope Wiseman aims to educate people and enable them to learn more and more about cannabis. Through the dispensary, people purchase weed and additionally learn about the plant, its effectiveness, and medical importance.
Being a black owner of a marijuana dispensary makes Wiseman an ideal to whom others shall follow and break barriers. Moreover, she puts her heart and soul into her dispensary. She mentions that Mary and Main is a product of love and family.
Dr. Octavia Simkins Wiseman and Dr. Bryant each have 20 years of experience in the field of dentistry. However, the two doctors desire to use marijuana to improve the lives of individuals that suffer from debilitating illnesses.
Hope Wiseman was at SunTrust as an equity institutional sales analyst for a year. However, she left the post to achieve her dream of entrepreneurship. By utilizing her financial background, she starts the dispensary. Moreover, Mary-and-Main provides her a way to contribute and serve her community.
Once she was in the marijuana business, she realized the possibility of earning profits from cannabis business activities. However, she also understands that people of color are often imprisoned for participating in the marijuana business.
Cannabis Activities And Difficulties In Running Dispensaries
In 2014, the legalization of marijuana in Maryland occurred. During the same year, Hope Wiseman started raising funds and obtaining a license to sell cannabis. Moreover, four years later, Mary-and-Main was up and running.
According to Wiseman, it is hard to participate and run a cannabis business, no matter if you are white or black. However, being a young woman of color, she was facing more challenges. Moreover, others see black individuals as unqualified for the marijuana business, and being women further adds to it.
Another issue is that many men have a hard time following the instructions of a female supervisor. Moreover, whether it is the marijuana industry or any other industry, some men do not see women as equals.
Furthermore, getting funding for a marijuana dispensary was a difficult task. Moreover, black women are most unlikely to get funds even with bank loans. According to a 2016 report from CrunchBase, in the USA, women own one-third of small businesses. Yet, they get only 10% of venture funding. Moreover, people of color face are under restrictions to participate in the cannabis industry.
The limitations and non-cooperative environment make developing and running a profitable personal marijuana business difficult. However, Hope Wiseman was able to get through all the hurdles and typical barriers.
The young marijuana owner desires to make her dispensary an example for others in her community to follow.
Overview – How cannabis laws in Israel steadily improved over time
When it comes to cannabis, both recreational and medical, the last place you’d expect acceptance is the Middle East. That’s not an unfair generalization; decades of war, fundamentalism and traditional mindsets certainly pushed the needle backwards. However, as it turns out, cannabis does have a notable bastion of support in the non-Arab Middle East. Specifically, we need to examine the complex, very recent decriminalization of cannabis in the country of Israel.
That may sound shocking, but within the past decade the nation’s pro-cannabis movement really scooped up several victories. Up until 2019, both medical and recreational cannabis were illegal. Now, the country’s ruling legal body, the Knesset, is poised to completely decriminalize the substance soon. A recent poll showed that Israelis make up the third largest consumers of recreational cannabis in the world. So how exactly did this happen with such a short span of time?
Changing attitudes of the public and lawmakers resulted in more lax perspectives on cannabis
Before 2017, most polls showed mixed responses to recreational cannabis usage. This data showed younger demographics favoring the drug’s legalization because of newer, more progressive outlooks. The pro-cannabis movement simply resulted, up until then, in peaceful activism. This year, one group even went as far as to parachute down free weed in a public park. The stunt garnered much publicity worldwide, with the group taking responsibility vowing to continue their work. Meanwhile, a well-known pro-cannabis political party, the Green Leaf Party, lobbied for total legalization of marijauna.
By 2018, views towards cannabis shifted into more cautious perspectives. Polls showed increasing numbers of adults across older demographics expressing ‘uncertainty’ or ‘approval with limitations’ over previous years. Furthermore, several prominent economists successfully pointed out that global demands for cannabis could make for lucrative export potential. Eventually, upon legalization of medicinal cannabis, several international companies moved their centers to Israel. Furthermore, agricultural specialists since the shift began to notice that Israel’s climate and soil provide a fertile setup for large-scale cannabis crops. Lastly, the Israeli military, highly influential in national politics, expressed its approval of the drug, which it used to treat PTSD in its soldiers.
The exact legal status of cannabis in Israel is complicated, but shows potential to improve with time
Up until 2017, cannabis use for recreational purposes was considered illegal. However, few convictions occurred and the consumption of recreational cannabis generally overlooked. However, support from high-profile politicians like Netanyahu’s government resulted in plans to decriminalize the drug. In Israel, all bills proposed by the ruling government need approval by the Knesset to take effect, similar to the Supreme Court in other nations. The resulting pro-cannabis law came into effect on April 1, 2019, whereby possession of up to 15 grams was tolerable. Furthermore, in cases of public usage, the first two “strikes” would receive no prosecution but subsequent strikes possible fines or incarceration. The law is not perfect, but certainly fares better than those of more intolerant contemporaries like in the United States.
The Knesset responded to public demands accordingly. As of now, medicinal usage is completely legal, with many pharmaceutical brands operating in the nation. Recreational cannabis, meanwhile, is decriminalized. In June 25, 2020, the Knesset began work on a new, more lax law on cannabis law. When successfully passed in the upcoming months, it will legally allow up to 50 grams of cannabis in possession. Until then, pro-cannabis parties and groups continue to advocate the legalization of regulated cannabis.
For more on cannabis laws worldwide, stay tuned!
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