This thing is ending and the wheels of change are moving rapidly.
Last year I made the prediction that the Obama administration would stand down on adult-use legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington in a piece I entitled “Legal By Summer.” My theory was that the overwhelming votes for cannabis freedom in these states and the growing support for weed across the nation would lead to the USDOJ standing down on these laws and enforcement of the industry.
On August 29, 2013 (still summer) the USDOJ issued a memo that declared the administration would not interfere with strictly regulated state programs as long as providers did not violate these 8 priorities, which would trigger enforcement:
- Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors; (Cool with that)
- Preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels; (Cool with that)
- Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states; (Extra cool with that. Why? Because defining the difference in diversion from states where it is legal to those where it is not seemingly opens the door for interstate commerce from states where it is legal to other states where it is legal, no? Maybe wishful thinking, but I am an optimist.)
- Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity; (Cool with that. stay off the dope)
- Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana; (Cool with that, hate violence and guns.)
- Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use; (Cool with that. even WA states flawed DUI bill has not resulted in mass arrests…just Seattle PD handing out Doritos at Hempfest)
- Preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands; and (Cool with that. If I gotta pay rent, so do you)
- Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property. (Cool with that. I was in Yosemite the other day burning fat joints and no one seemed to notice or care. The world has changed)
I wrote about the memo in detail in a piece entitled “The World Has Changed. Act like it already.” In this piece I recognize and celebrate the administration’s efforts to find a way to let cannabis programs exist in conjunction with Federal law prohibiting cannabis for any application- medical, legal, or even hemp. It was a revolutionary memo that is certain to allow the space needed for real and meaningful change.
On January 1st of this year we saw the non-action of the administration translate into the first ever legal cannabis weed transaction for an adult over 21 in the history of the nation. The phenomena grabbed international press attention and has continued to erode the arguments against legalization every day that the program exists and the sky does not fall. The results have been amazing.
As I predicted, the mere lack of enforcement and the room to implement these programs without interference has changed the world. Now we see states putting forth legislation to legalize cannabis at feverish rates. It is only January and nearly a dozen states have announced some sort of effort to legalize weed in their states, including conservative strongholds like Oklahoma and Wisconsin. There is no denying that the world has changed for real.
So here we are in one of the most interesting and evolutionary times in cannabis history, and I do not see the toothpaste getting put back in the tube any time soon. It is all downhill from here.
So much so I am ready to make another prediction…..#EVENMORELEGALBYSUMMER.
I predict in the coming months through the summer of 2014 we will see something amazing. We will see a rapid movement by law enforcement, public officials, and communities to get on the right side of history. With mid-term elections happening and a lot at stake lawmakers and officials will have to move quickly to establish their position as leaders on this issue. We have already seen some bold statements coming out from some of the most conservative politicos in the nation, setting the table for the fall of prohibition.
Check out what ultra-conservative dingbat Texas Governor Rick Perry said just this last week:
“After 40 years of the war on drugs, I can’t change what happened in the past. What I can do as the governor of the second largest state in the nation is to implement policies that start us toward a decriminalization and keeps people from going to prison and destroying their lives, and that’s what we’ve done over the last decade,” Perry said, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Or this gem by New Jersey Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Chris Christie:
We will end the failed war on drugs that believes that incarceration is the cure of every ill caused by drug abuse. We will make drug treatment available to as many of our non-violent offenders as we can and we will partner with our citizens to create a society that understands that every life has value and no life is disposable.”
The call for an end to prohibition and the drug war is happening on many fronts and is growing louder by the day. It is inevitable that this thing is over. Where we are now is working out the details. Even the most staunch prohibitionist losers are ready to admit weed will be legal. Their new plan is to try to make it super restrictive and overly burdensome in the area of regulations.
Even the President himself had the courage to admit the obvious this week….”that cannabis is no more dangerous than alcohol.” Here was his statement in an interview with the New Yorker magazine:
“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol,” Obama told the New Yorker.
Given where we are just weeks into the new year, I am confident that we will see incredible and sweeping change in the area of cannabis reform this year. I predict we will see at least one, if not several, states have the courage to pass a legalization law through a state legislative process. I think a domino effect will happen, and several more states will follow suit and begin the steps towards adult use weed. I believe that marijuana will become a corner stone of the election cycle, and we will see a shift where the popular position is actually FOR cannabis, after decades of the tough on drugs mentality that has enabled the evils of the drug war. I believe we will see a move to reschedule cannabis for medical purposes at the federal level to allow for research and development of cannabis medicines. I think by this time next year we will be talking seriously about passing new adult-use cannabis legislation at the Federal level after the elections.
When I say EVEN MORE LEGAL BY SUMMER, I mean a lot less people will be heading for jail and our society will really make a move towards acceptance and understanding of cannabis. The myths that have kept cannabis illegal for so many years are dying a painful death, as responsible adults use cannabis legally with little or no harm. We still have a hell of a lot of work to do, I might go as far as saying even more than ever as we must defend cannabis freedom in a legal and confusing environment. But nobody said it was going to be easy.
There is no mistaking that the ground has shifted beneath our feet. We see the best and the worst of our industry on display as people position themselves for a legal cannabis market. The hucksters are out in full force looking for their piece of the pie. Our opposition will fight us to the death to maintain their status quo…but alas, this is going to end and we will move past cannabis prohibition as a society.