Cannabis in America
Marijuana Apps May Indicate a Change in Public Opinion
There’s been a lot of talk about marijuana lately. This year we’ve seen the implementation of Amendment 64 in Colorado and Initiative 502 in Washington, both passed in 2012. Aside from the 18 states and the District of Columbia that have approved marijuana for medical use, two states have approved measures to legalize recreational use for adults 21 and over. With the sophisticated enforcement of these initiatives we must ask ourselves, has marijuana gone mainstream?
One might think, but this is a paradox when it comes to the criminal justice system. The latest FBI Uniform Crime Report shows that the highest amount of arrests were for drug abuse violations, with more than 42 percent of violators being arrested for marijuana possession. So marijuana is cleared for medical use but possessing it is a crime that led to more arrests than any other in 2012. Not only that, but these arrests consume massive amounts of money due to the cost of prosecuting, incarcerating, and having offenders under the watchful eye of the courts as a result probation or parole. These non-violent criminals are a drain of financial resources and increase criminal justice caseloads. As a result, many states are considering decriminalizing marijuana as is the case in places like Maryland and the District of Columbia.
The prohibition of marijuana seems to be losing popularity as the combination of decreased funds in state budgets continue, and more medical uses for the drug are found. On top of efforts to decriminalize and legalize marijuana, there seems to be a new level of acceptance when you consider the number of apps that have been created that allow potential marijuana dispensary customer to locate dispensaries from their phones. Even more than being able to get directions to the local dispensary, there are game-like apps such as Weed Firm that allow users to create their own cyber pot shops.
Weed Firm, a creation of Manitoba Games, was offered by the Apple App Store and allowed users to create their own marijuana plant mixtures that could then be sold to virtual customers. The game was complete with seed, potting, and fertilizer options for growers to make their favorite combinations. One of the more unsavory game features was the option to either pay the local thugs for the ability to sell marijuana on their turf, or have them take all of your plants and profit as payment. Manitoba Games was pleased to announce that Weed Firm was number one on every Apple App Store category. Unfortunately for Manitoba Games, Apple recently decided to remove the app from the store. As you can expect, the gaming company was not pleased with this decision and released a hilarious statement discussing the matter. In their statement, Manitoba Games has vowed to return to Apple’s App Store with a more acceptable, censored version of Weed Firm.
If technology is any indication of the changing opinion on marijuana, then its safe to say marijuana is no longer considered taboo. This change is a result of realizing the prohibition of marijuana has been unsuccessful. Financially, states cannot support the incarceration of large amounts of people for non-violent crimes like marijuana possession. It’s even harder to explain that people are being classified as criminals as a result of being in possession of a plant that is used for medical purposes. It seems that the evolution of marijuana and its negative associations are as old as Reefer Madness. This post does not advocate for the legalization of marijuana, but rather to explain some of the changes in public opinion and the influence it has on technology.
Teerah Goodrum (@AisleNotes), is a recent Graduate of Howard University with a concentration in Public Administration and Public Policy. Her time on Capitol Hill as a Science and Technology Legislative Assistant has given her insight into the tech community. In her spare time she enjoys visiting her favorite city, Seattle, and playing fantasy football.
Featured image courtesy of [O’Dea via Wikipedia]