John Oliver, comedian and host of Last Week Tonight, has the right idea here. Marijuana laws do have a big impact, including on environmental regulations and international treaties. Marijuana laws also can empower or disempower drug cartels, increase or lessen the opioid addiction crisis, improve or worsen racial politics, create or reduce jobs, and increase or reduce access to cannabis by minors.
Oliver recognizes that marijuana legislation and regulation is “a lot of work,” but legalizing cannabis IS worth it.
Oliver raises another good point when he states that the records of people convicted of previous marijuana offenses need to be expunged. Justice essentially requires this. Is it just that someone be deemed a criminal for having done what is now fully legal? And don’t even get us started about how cannabis arrests fall disproportionately on persons of color and on the poor and the dispossessed.
Though Olivers says “we should really start right now,” the truth is that we have already started. But we need to keep pushing until cannabis is federally legal.