What do France, England, Germany, Spain, Australia and almost every other democracy around the globe have in common? In spite of different languages, cultures and even having been to war with one another at certain points in their history, all these nations have modeled their constitution on America’s.
There are certainly some differences. Most notably, America’s 2nd amendment which establishes an individual’s right to own firearms, has been omitted from almost every other democracy’s legal framework. However, the basic idea of all people being treated equally before the law regardless of wealth or social status, is an idea pioneered by the US Constitution. This is why America must also lead the way on cannabis legalization.
America’s history has been far from perfect. However, the Constitution did give people the rights of addressing grievances with the government through elections and the public courts. Through this process, America has come a long way towards fixing the imperfections in its original constitution. If you remember, that original document only counted black slaves as ⅗ of a man for taxation and voting purposes. It also prohibited women from voting.
Thanks to several centuries of hard work by many brave Americans willing to challenge those ideas as being undemocratic and at odds with the Constitution, racial discrimination and slavery are no longer legal. Women are also now allowed to vote.
There is also hate crime legislation that makes it illegal to commit violence against people based on their race, gender, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. Before this legislation, these kinds of crimes against people were very common in America. They were even accepted in many communities.
That is no longer the case. Yes, hate crimes still happen, but the perpetrators are (correctly) treated very harshly by the criminal justice system. As a result, hate crimes are committed far less frequently today than in the past. This is a perfect example of a democracy realizing it was wrong and correcting itself. It’s long past time for America to come to the same realization on cannabis prohibition.
Almost every democracy around the world followed America’s lead when it outlawed discrimination and created special penalties for hate crimes. This is why America must also lead the way on cannabis legalization. America was the first nation in the world to prohibit cannabis. We know now that the prohibition was more a function of politics and economics than public safety.
Many countries around the world followed America’s lead on prohibition to receive foreign aid or other assistance. Now, in the 21st century, almost 80% of American states (37 out of 50) have legalized recreational or medical cannabis. It’s high time for the US federal government to listen to the will of its people and legalize cannabis. Once that happens, other countries around the world will follow America’s lead in much the same way they did on anti-discrimination, hate crimes and women’s rights.
G13 Club is a private social club for medical and recreational cannabis users based in Barcelona. It is also a space for musical and artistic development that promotes a multitude of activities focused on the expression and exhibition of urban, hip hop, reggae and skate culture.