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The 4/20 update

By Mitch Earleywine
A lot has changed this year in cannabis prohibition. Science and policy march on. Legendary legalization laws in Colorado and Washington have generated astounding news coverage. Maryland is the latest state to change policies. A look at these states can reveal a lot about the research on relevant topics, too.

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420, cannabis, illegality, and the cost of prohibition

By Mitch Earleywine
Cannabis became essentially illegal in the United States in 1937. Perhaps this 75 year experiment has provided enough data for some informed decisions. We’re up to over 800,000 arrests each year, with government spending billions annually on marijuana control. Yet more people have tried the plant than ever before. Several authors suggest that alternatives to prohibition might prove cheaper, send fewer people through our courts, and maintain respect for the law. It seems oddly un-American that a citizen can go to jail for owning a plant, especially here in the land of the free. But change is scary, and fear runs politics in frightening ways.

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