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How the 2020 Election Changed Drug Laws in the U.S., and what to Expect from 2021

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Drug laws

During the 2020 General Election, Americans voted on more than just the newest president - many also gave input on drug laws. Keeping up with recent trends, states across the U.S. saw dramatic changes to laws governing substances such as marijuana and even Schedule 1 drugs such as heroin.

Today, we're exploring how drug laws across the U.S. changed in 2020, and what we may be able to expect from 2021 with a new administration in the White House.

To receive experienced legal counsel for your case, contact our office online or via phone at (904) 701-0591.

How Did the 2020 Election Change Drug Laws?

Citizens in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota all passed measures to decriminalize cannabis to some extent, with South Dakota decriminalizing both medical and recreational marijuana. Although marijuana is still federally illegal and classified as a Schedule 1 substance, cannabis is only fully illegal at a state level in six states: Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina. Here in Florida, while recreational cannabis is still illegal, medical marijuana was decriminalized.

The further legalization of marijuana represents a common trend. As accredited health institutions such as the Mayo Clinic continue to utilize medical marijuana, U.S. citizens have increasingly pushed for cannabis to be decriminalized at federal and local levels in both recreational and medicinal capacities.

However, further decriminalization of cannabis wasn't the only thing on the table during the 2020 Election. In Washington, D.C., and Oregon, citizens voted to decriminalize the use of psychedelic plants, specifically legalizing the use and growing of psilocybin (the most common psychedelic compound found in substances such as "magic mushrooms"). Oregon also legalized the use of psilocybin for mental health treatment, citing studies showing that psychedelics may have beneficial uses treating various mental disorders. As part of these developments, citizens interested in growing psilocybin will also be able to obtain a license for their activities, making it fully legal.

Oregonians didn't just vote to legalize psychedelics. Citizens also passed measures to decriminalize the personal use of all other Schedule 1 drugs, including heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. While manufacturing such drugs and selling them is still illegal, this measure is intended to make it easier for individuals found possessing Schedule 1 drugs to seek treatment and rehabilitation.

What Should We Expect from U.S. Drug Laws in the Future?

The decriminalization of "hard" Schedule 1 drugs in Oregon only further illustrates an overall trend in drug laws across the U.S. - namely, a move towards decriminalization and a new focus on rehabilitation instead of incarceration.

It appears that the Biden administration may try and double down on expanding drug laws. While on the campaign trail, now-President Joe Biden announced his intent to decriminalize marijuana at a federal level if elected.

At The Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A., we help Floridians navigate complex criminal defense cases, including those involving drug crimes.

To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (904) 701-0591.