U.S. becomes more lenient on marijuana legalization, report shows

FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2015, file photo, Canna Care employee John Hough waters young marijuana plants at the medical marijuana dispensary in Sacramento, Calif. For the second time in six years, California voters are being asked to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. This time, supporters of the move have much more financial backing and professional campaign help than they did in 2010. Polls show Proposition 64 with more than the 50 percent of voter support needed to pass. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Support for legalization of marijuana has risen to nearly 60 percent among U.S. adults, according to a study published on Wednesday, marking a near reversal of attitudes held only a decade ago, when just 32 percent of adults favored legalization. More relaxed views about marijuana have led around two dozen states to allow legal access of some type of the drug, and more U.S. states are set to vote on marijuana-related measures on Nov. 8.

These wide-scale arrests have destroyed countless lives while doing nothing to help people who struggle with dependence.

Tess Borden, the report’s author

The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch on Wednesday called on states and the federal government to decriminalize possession of marijuana for personal use. The 196-page report by the two human rights groups said the "war on drugs" was a failure, with rates of drug use unchanged since President Richard Nixon launched the campaign more than 40 years ago.

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Drug possession vs. violent crimes

The report said nearly half of all drug possession arrests in 2015, or more than 574,000, were for marijuana, based on Federal Bureau of Investigation figures. In the same year, there were 506,000 arrests for violent crimes, such as murder, rape and aggravated assault, FBI data showed.



African-Americans and possession

Even though whites are more likely than black people to use illicit drugs in the course of their lives, adult African-Americans are more than 2.5 times more likely to be arrested for drug possession, the report said.

Topic in-depth

Gourmet ganja? Marijuana dining is growing up, slowly

The marijuana industry is trying to move away from its pizza-and-Doritos roots as folks explore how to safely serve marijuana and food. Chefs are working with marijuana growers to chart the still-very-unscientific world of pairing food and weed. And a proliferation of mass-market cheap pot is driving professional growers to develop distinctive flavors and aromas to distinguish themselves in a crowded market.
Associated Press via Yahoo News

Legality of cannabis

The legality of cannabis varies from country to country. Possession of cannabis is illegal in most countries and has been since the beginning of widespread cannabis prohibition in the late 1930s.

War on Drugs

"The War on Drugs" is an American term commonly applied to a campaign of prohibition of drugs, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to reduce the illegal drug trade. This initiative includes a set of drug policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of psychoactive drugs that the participating governments and the UN have made illegal.