Nationwide Legalization Efforts and the UVa Focus

Cannabis legalization for medical and recreational use has caught traction in the US since Colorado’s historic statewide recreational legalization in 2012. Over the last five years, 29 states have followed suit ending with Atlanta’s most recent unanimous lowering of marijuana possession-related penalties.

State governments have reaped enormous benefits. Colorado alone has just surpassed the $500 million mark in tax revenue since retail sales began in 2014. The state has spent most of the money on schools, drug prevention and treatment programs, and regulation of the marijuana industry. Alongside these economic benefits, Colorado has actually reported less usage of the drug among teens and young adults.

Though Colorado is the paradigm for legalization efforts, other states have experienced similar effects.

Virginia however, remains behind the curve but there are many legalization efforts being made at the local level.

Right here on grounds exists the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), which seeks to “mobilize and empower young people to participate in the political process.”

SSDP “push[es] for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future” and “fight[s] back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth,” according to their mission statement.

The organization sponsors a wide array of advocacy movements, including contacting state representatives, attending rallies and conferences, and keeping the community updated on national and local legalization news. To learn more, contact SSDP here.


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