Marijuana legalization has become a hot topic in recent years, especially after many states in the USA started to legalize it and different countries across the world started to tolerate its use. However, Canada and Uruguay are the only two countries which have legalized marijuana on a national level. Earlier this year Mexico passed a legalization bill which brings it one step closer to national legalization, although it is still not a fact yet. Marijuana toleration and legalization, nonetheless, are two completely different things and exploring the difference between the two can also explain why weed legalization across the world turns out to be a long process.
The Louisiana House of Representatives rejected a marijuana taxation bill that proposed taxing medical marijuana sales, which effectively means that marijuana for recreational purposes will also be affected by the rejection of the medical marijuana taxation bill. What does that mean? The state legislature’s voting of new marijuana laws which could legalize recreational use will probably be delayed by a year or two since the rejection of medical marijuana taxation affects 2022, according to the fiscal session. It is a fair assumption that since medical marijuana taxation was rejected, the marijuana legalization bill does not hold a big chance of passing as well. Even though it was proposed for the tax money from medical marijuana sales to be used to improve the infrastructure in the state, the arguments in favour of the new marijuana law were not strong enough to pass.
On the positive side, marijuana was decriminalized in Louisiana a few weeks ago and lower penalties are to be posed to people who possess small amounts of the plant. Nevertheless, marijuana legalization still depends on the state legislature. But what does that mean exactly?
There may be some differences depending on the systems of governance of the state, but in most general terms a bill is a proposition for a law. For it to actually become a law, however, it needs to be approved. The bill is presented to the legislative body (Parliament, Congress) and it needs to be approved by the same. In some systems of governance citizens can make the government or state legislature approve or disprove of a bill if enough people sign a particular petition (USA), whereas in other systems the legislative approval or disapproval is exclusively reserved for members of the legislative body. On the other hand, the right to initiative, that is, the right to propose a bill, is also most often strictly reserved for members of the legislative body or the executive power; however, some states of the USA allow legislative initiative to the citizens of the state, nonetheless it is not effective on a national level, but on a state level, that is, in the state legislative bodies.
Legalization laws are, then, not an easy thing to achieve and they depend on multiple factors, such as state legislation, national legislation, and undoubtedly social attitudes towards new marijuana laws.
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