Published on November 5th, 2015 | by News Feed
Will Iran Pass The United States In Marijuana Legalization?
Oxford University scholar Maziyar Ghiabi recently authored and published an article that has appeared in The Independent and The Conversation. The article itself is a very startling piece that suggests that Iran could be on the brink of actually legalizing marijuana and opium. That move would stand in stark contrast to the United States.
Simply put Iran is a police state that is staunchly dedicated to religious ideology. The puritanical lifestyles that the government preaches are also the same lifestyle that many of its citizens lead. However there is a darker side to Iran. Iran houses nearly 225,000 inmates and it is suggested by Ghiabi that nearly 70% of those inmates are there for drug related offenses.
Because of this spike in the number of inmates, Iran has also hastened their execution process. Drug Trafficking is an offense that can lead to the death penalty.
“Drug traffickers risk harsh punishments that include the death penalty,” Ghiabi wrote. But he also informs us that Iran is now pursuing the kind of harm reduction policies that activists have been long pressing for in the U.S., including “distribution of clean needles to injecting drug users, methadone substitution programs (also in prisons) and a vast system of addiction treatment.”
There is also new information coming to light that Saeed Sefatian is in the process of actually advocating for the legalization of marijuana and opium. Sefatian is a member of the Expediency Council that was started by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1987. The purpose of the council is to advise the highest-ranking members of the political ranks in Iran. The mere fact that this conversation is being had in this circle shows that real movement has already occurred.
Ghiabi notes that, “If Iran were able to reform its drug policy, the prison population would drop remarkably,” he wrote. “The state would access new economic resources—through the production and selling of previously illegal drugs—which are today the turf of large criminal networks. The agricultural sector would benefit greatly from the cultivation of cannabis and poppy and the land is suitable for these crops… Given that cannabis and opium are both indigenous plants that have had a historical presence in Iran, they are also a good place to start a new indigenous approach to drug control.”
The simple fact that a police state and a highly religious state like Iran would even consider legalizing marijuana and a hard drug like Opium is a real game changer. The United States has been mired in this debate for a very long time and there has been very little movement. Several states have legalized marijuana but there is still no federal legalization.