Canada is legalizing marijuana. Here are 9 reasons the U.S. should too.

Canada announced plans to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by July 2018, proving again they are the U.S.'s cool next-door neighbor.

The move to legalize the recreational use of pot fulfills one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign promises. While medicinal marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001, this would be an unprecedented move for a large, industrialized country. It's also something the U.S. should consider.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in March 2016. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.


Even if "But Canada is doing it" isn't a good enough reason to throw your support behind the legalization push in the U.S., there are plenty of other compelling cases to make for legalized recreational pot.

1. For one, more than half of Americans support legalization.

A 2016 Pew Research study found that 57% of U.S. adults (and rising) believe marijuana should be made legal. 37% believe it should be illegal.

A medicinal marijuana vending machine in Canada. Photo by Don MacKinnon/AFP/Getty Images.

2. The idea that pot is a "gateway drug" is not entirely accurate.

It's not actually a gateway drug, at least in the way your D.A.R.E. classes suggested. Yes, regular users are more likely to try other drugs, such as cocaine, than those who don't smoke marijuana, but there's not a whole lot of evidence that it's because of pot.

3. Enforcing marijuana-related violations is expensive, and resources could be better used elsewhere.

According to a 2016 report from Human Rights Watch and the ACLU, almost 600,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in the U.S. Add on the costs of keeping people behind bars and the court system, and it's clear this is a mess.

Flowering medicinal marijuana plants. Photo by Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images.

4. Legalization would add tens of billions of dollars to the U.S. economy overnight.

A 2010 CNBC article pinned estimates at a somewhat vague figure of anywhere between $10 billion and $120 billion per year. That's some serious cash, which leads to the next point...

5. There's a whole lot of tax revenue to be made off legalized marijuana, and there are a lot of government programs that could use the extra cash.

From July 2014 to June 2015, Colorado generated nearly $70 million in taxes from legalized marijuana. The next year, the state brought in around $200 million in taxes.

A Vancouver man sits on a beach smoking a bong on April 20, 2016. Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images.

6. Test cases in states like Colorado and Washington show that it doesn't actually cause an increase in crime.

While Denver has experienced a slight uptick in crime in recent years, there's nothing to suggest that it's due to the state's marijuana legalization, with "marijuana-related" crimes making up less than 1% of all offenses.

7. It's less dangerous than a lot of other things that are legal, so hey, why not?

Excessive alcohol use is responsible for an estimated 88,000 deaths each year. Cigarettes are responsible for more than 480,000 deaths annually. Prescription drug overdoses make up another 25,000 deaths. But marijuana? There's not a single reported case of someone overdosing on marijuana, and indirect effects (it can impair your ability to drive, for example) can be avoided.

A medicinal marijuana vending machine at the BC Pain Society in Vancouver. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward.

8. And speaking of those other drugs, many are a lot more addictive.

Cigarettes, opioids, alcohol, and caffeine are all more addictive than marijuana. While some people report getting "addicted" to marijuana, 91% of those who have used it do not.

9. And finally, the continued "war on drugs" directly and indirectly leads to thousands of deaths in the U.S. and Mexico each year at the hands of violent cartels.

Legalizing marijuana could take power away from violent drug cartels, reduce illegal border crossings, and save countless lives.

Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale, Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould, and Health Minister Jane Philpott discuss legalization of marijuana. Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP.

Only time will tell if the U.S. follows in the footsteps of our neighbors from the north, but hey, there's a bunch of reasons why we probably should.

A marijuana plant grows in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Vancouver. Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP.

Pexels
True
Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.