Decriminalization vs. Legalization


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The past few years have seen significant shifts in public perception and policy regarding marijuana, with several states decriminalizing possession and others legalizing marijuana for recreational use. It’s essential to understand that marijuana abuse is still a problem regardless of legal status. You should seek help from a marijuana addiction treatment program if you struggle with using this substance.

Are you having issues with your marijuana use? Contact (855) 607-8758 today for detailed information about our treatment options for marijuana abuse at Liberty Bay Recovery.

Marijuana Decriminalization vs. Legalization: What’s the Difference?

There are a few differences between decriminalization vs. legalization of marijuana. Both are changes in the legal and punitive nature of drug laws in the United States but differ significantly in their attempts to resolve drug problems.

Historically, marijuana possession was treated as a felony and punishable by years behind bars. Decriminalization varies between states but generally removes felony offenses for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Large quantities of marijuana can still be a felony offense, as these states still want to provide deterrents to drug traffickers and dealers.

In comparison, legalization allows people to buy recreational marijuana in specialized dispensary stores. Some states even allow people to grow a limited amount of marijuana plants in their own homes for personal use. Marijuana sold outside stores is still illegal to deter drug trafficking and keep the marijuana industry independent of drug cartels and criminal organizations.

The Case for Decriminalization

Decriminalization represents a shift in treating marijuana abuse as a criminal problem towards a mental health issue. Marijuana possession is a non-violent offense, and many people consider the punishment of years in jail as unethical and overly harsh. Some states that have decriminalized marijuana will let you walk away without any legal punishment for possession. In contrast, others will consider it a minor infraction akin to a traffic violation.

Decriminalization helps us to keep our jails from overpopulation. It ensures that violent offenders can fulfill their debt to society without being pushed out early to make room for people with minor drug possession. It also helps people who struggle with marijuana abuse since they can seek rehabilitation instead of facing severe punishments, driving them deeper into addiction.

Arguments for Legalization

Legalization allows states to sell marijuana to adults in specialized stores. Marijuana is treated like other legal recreational drugs, such as tobacco and alcohol. There are still restrictions on where people can use marijuana, and driving under the influence is still a criminal offense. There are several benefits for legalization, including:

  • Increased tax revenue for the state, which often helps fund addiction treatment programs
  • Decreased crime
  • Fewer people are sent to jail for drug offenses
  • Reduced profits for drug cartels

Essentially, the argument for legalization is that people should be allowed to use marijuana without fear of punishment. It gives people greater liberties and trusts them to make good decisions about their substance use.

Find Marijuana Addiction Treatment Programs at Liberty Bay Recovery

The fact is that marijuana abuse is a problem whether it is a criminal offense, decriminalized, or legal in your state. Just like alcoholism is still a problem despite being entirely legal, people can still struggle with addiction to marijuana. If you’re having trouble with your marijuana use, marijuana addiction treatment programs can help you regain control over your life, free from addiction.

We’ve hand-selected a team of medical and psychological professionals who understand addiction inside out and want to help clients achieve long-term recovery. Contact us at (855) 607-8758 to learn more about our marijuana addiction treatment programs in Portland, Maine, and start your road to healing today at Liberty Bay Recovery.

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