Psychedelic Scientists Decry Drug War Obstacles at Psilocybin Research Event

The War on Drugs causes so much unnecessary heartache and pain, from unnecessary arrests to exorbitant taxes that prevent hardworking mom-and-pop entrepreneurs from achieving their American Dream. The unnecessary obstacles stifling medical research is one of the many ills of the Drug War, preventing people from saving and improving their lives with safe medical options. The cannabis community knows all too well the ridiculous barriers put in place whenever researchers attempt to study federal Schedule I substances. Now, with psychedelic research following in the footsteps of cannabis, scientists are facing similar nonsensical hurdles that needlessly delay the ability to find safe medicines just waiting to be unlocked. As Marijuana Moment reported, prominent scientists decried these outdated Drug War obstacles at the inaugural Psilocybin Research Speaker Series event hosted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), under the National Institutes of Health (NIH), on April 22nd:

A federal health agency kicked off a speaker series on Thursday that’s dedicated to recapping science on the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms. And the experts who spoke at the first event said in response to Marijuana Moment’s questions that federal drug laws are out of step with voters and undermine the research objectives of the scientific community.

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Asked by Marijuana Moment about whether the scheduling status of psilocybin under federal law inhibits research into the compound’s risk and benefits, Dr. Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins University said that the “Schedule I status is anathema to research because it makes research much more difficult—and that’s both clinical research and even preclinical research.”

“Even a preclinical neurological researcher, if they want to work with a Schedule I compound, they still have to jump through all the hurdles and create a [Drug Enforcement Administration] license and track their substance in a way that’s really quite discouraging of research,” he said. “I wish there were an easier workaround for Schedule I compounds and research generally, but as the laws are currently written, there isn’t a workaround.”

The National Cancer Institute has this to say about psilocybin and the current status of federal law and ongoing research:

“Psilocybin is the natural active compound found in more than 200 species of fungi, more commonly referred to as ‘magic mushrooms.’ Psilocybin is converted by the body to psilocin, which has hallucinogenic mind-altering properties. These naturally occurring mushrooms have been used anthropologically worldwide by indigenous cultures for centuries in the context of religious or spiritual healing ceremonies. Psilocybin is currently a Schedule I substance under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Schedule 1 classification defines chemicals or substances that, currently, have no accepted medical use and have a high potential for abuse. Advances in clinical trials, however, are researching psilocybin to treat cancer related depression, for example, and moreover for its potential medicinal application in treating a range of severe psychiatric disorders, such as: major depressive disorder, treatment resistant depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders, as well as anorexia. To date, FDA granted two breakthrough therapy designations for psilocybin, one for treatment resistant depression in 2018, and a second for major depressive disorder in 2019.”

This is a fascinating time for drug policy activism, from legalizing cannabis to harnessing the healing properties of natural substances that have been wrongly criminalized. It’s great to seen Oregon, with the passage of Measure 109, helping lead the way.

If we can safely help people we should explore those avenues and let science be the guide, not decades of propaganda and misinformation. Too many of our citizens are suffering, whether they are veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress or everyday Americans combating PTSD or depression themselves. It’s great to see our nation take steps towards a sane drug policy and this federally-funded Psilocybin Research Speaker Series is a nice step in the right direction. There are more panels on May 27th and June 4th, 7th, and 10th covering a variety of topics including microdosing, group therapy, psychotherapy for cancer-related psychiatric distress, and more. You can see the full agenda and register here.

Even though 4/20 is behind us, there are still plenty of great deals at Kind Leaf to help uplift your mood. As always, senior citizens, military veterans, and OMMP patients qualify for discounts. Free online ordering through Leafly pickup for convenience or come on into Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique.

The NFL Wisely Started Allowing Players to Utilize Cannabis (on 4/20, of course)

In the cannabis community’s fight for freedom and equality, the cultural battle is a very important component as every victory for common sense leads us closer to our ultimate goal. In America, sports are an integral part of society and changing the culture in sports causes ripples that flow into the business world and throughout various aspects of American life. The National Football League (NFL) is the biggest sports league in America, with its Super Bowl becoming an unofficial holiday, even celebrated by those that aren’t usual fans. Fittingly, the NFL started its new cannabis testing policy on 4/20, also an unofficial American holiday that’s even gotten commemorated by the Senate Majority Leader and throughout the Halls of Congress.

Under the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, as the Boston Globe’s Senior NFL writer Ben Volin reported, players can start using cannabis on 4/20 and until the beginning of training camp (August 9th) with no repruccessions. There will be one drug test for all players that tests for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid, an inactive chemical that can confirm cannabis use, between the start of training camp and the first preseason game. The players will know when the test is and if they test negative, that will be their only such test all year. Further, the new agreement eliminate automatic suspensions for a simple positive test, but players can be fined and disciplined further for failing to cooperate with the testing and clinical procedures.

As, the New York Daily News reported, this policy change is a reflection of Reefer Madness fading away in our society:

The league acquiesced last offseason to a severe relaxation of its policy on marijuana, mirroring states’ legalization efforts and a general shift in the nation’s attitude toward the drug.

This is one of the givebacks in the name of player health and safety that the NFL Players’ Association acquired in exchange for agreeing to an extra regular season game and less than a 50-50 revenue split.

Many NFL players and athletes view marijuana as a safer medicine for treating or alleviating pain, compared to opioids and prescription drugs.

Additionally, the threshold for failing the THC test was increased more than four times, from 35 ng/ml to 150 ng/ml. According to the Mayo Clinic the presence of 100 ng/mL indicates relatively recent use, probably within the past 7 days while levels greater than 500 ng/mL suggest chronic and recent use. Mayo notes that chronic use causes accumulation of THC such that it is excreted into the urine for as long as 30 to 60 days from the time chronic use is halted. Cannabis connoisseurs in the NFL will want to plan accordingly since they will know when their test will be conducted.

This is a great step in the right direction for the NFL. Football is a violent sport that forces too many players to utilize too many pain pills that are extremely addictive and could be deadly. Cannabis is simply a safer alternative that can improve the lives of players. Congratulations to the players for forcing the league to adapt with the times and our scientific knowledge. And congratulations to the cannabis community at large, whether a football fan or not, as we notched another important win this 4/20. Touchdown dances are in order.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Hopes to End Cannabis Prohibition by 4/20/22

Hope everyone had a good holiday celebration. There were certainly plenty of reasons for the cannabis community to celebrate yesterday and to continue celebrating as we have been making tremendous progress in our fight for freedom, all across the nation and the globe. It’s a relatively slow and steady political and cultural battle, but it’s easy to see that the momentum is on our side as even our opponents have started to concede ground, claiming that they now support decriminalization.

It’s a real untenable situation for Reefer Madness prohibitionists who find themselves on the fringe, as less than 10% of Americans want cannabis to remain completely illegal. In a huge sign of our progress, the SAFE Banking Act passed the House on Monday by a whopping 321-101 margin. And then on the cannabis community’s sacred day, New York Senator Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor on 4/20 to announce his hope that federal prohibition has been swept into the dustbin of history where it belongs by 4/20/22, as CNBC reported:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday reiterated his call to legalize marijuana at the federal level, saying he hopes to see an end to the drug’s prohibition by next year’s 4/20.

“Hopefully, the next time this unofficial holiday, 4/20, rolls around, our country will have made progress in addressing the massive overcriminalization of marijuana in a meaningful and comprehensive way,” Schumer said on the floor of the upper chamber.

Schumer said the nation’s war on drugs has “too often been a war on people, particularly people of color.” “I believe the time has come to end the federal prohibition on marijuana in this country, and I’m working with Sens. Booker and Wyden on legislation to do just that,” he said.

There’s never been a better time to be a drug policy reform activist and we are so close to the promised land. It was heartening to see all of my federal representatives, Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley all make 4/20 statements about working to legalize cannabis for all adults. It’s been a rather remarkable ride for the cannabis community, we just need to continue working hard and smart, step by step, state by state. It helps to have the truth on our side because eventually, it shall set us all free.

There are always great deals at Kind Leaf to continue celebrating the cannabis community and how far we’ve come. You can conveniently use Leafly Pick-Up or just come on into Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique at 1733 SW Court Ave. in beautiful Pendleton. Discounts available for senior citizens, military veterans, and OMMP patients.

Celebrate the 4/20 Holiday with Great Deals at Kind Leaf!

Everybody knows that April 20th is a special holiday for the cannabis community and there is certainly a lot to celebrate this year. Since 4/20 last year, Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, Virginia, and New York have all voted to end prohibition. The latest Gallup Poll revealed that 68% of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal, an all-time high since the polling firm found that only 12% felt the same back in 1969. The most recent Pew Research Poll revealed that over 90% of Americans believe that cannabis should be legal for either adult-use or medicinal purposes, and the SAFE Banking Act passed the United States House of Representatives by a whopping 321-101 margin. The banking bill, an extremely important piece of legislation for the cannabis industry, now moves onto the Senate with a lot of bipartisan momentum. With tons to celebrate, there are no better places to stock up than Kind Leaf, Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique.

Pendleton’s Kind Leaf is always the best shop for cannabis connoisseurs and novices alike, but the 4/20 deals are especially epic. This year there are too many amazing deals to even list them all, but to name just a few: 30% off Oregrown and Willamette Valley Alchemy products; 40% off of Green Bodhi, Fox Hollow Flora, and 7 Points Oregon top shelf flower; 40% off of Select Elite and Live Resin; 20% off Grön Chocolates, Mule Extract Gummies, and Happy Kitchen Edibles; 30% off of Exotic Blends and Blues Brothers; 40% off of fire & Jane and Loyal Oil Co. products; and $50 ounces of flower will be available! And just in time, Nathan Apodaca AKA the one and only Doggface that cheered up the world by vibing on his skateboard, is making his introduction into the Oregon market. All while supplies last, so don’t be a late slacker.

There are a lot of dispensaries to choose from in beautiful Oregon, but at Kind Leaf you know that you are choosing from the very best selection in the Great Northwest and that you are supporting a local business that gives back to the local community. You can order online at Leafly and conveniently pick up your products. Or just come on in and the knowledgeable, friendly staff will be happy to assist you. There are always great deals and discounts for military veterans, senior citizens, and OMMP patients. Thank you for the support and have an amazing, and safe, holiday celebration.

The American Bankers Association Urges Congress to Pass the SAFE Banking Act

The bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act) of 2021 is expected to get a vote today in the United States House of Representatives, a big development for the cannabis industry and the first step towards finally implementing a sensible federal cannabis policy. State-regulated cannabis businesses are severely hindered from a lack of access to bank accounts and other normal financial services. The extra burden especially hurts small businesses, complicates business relations with vendors, and creates a safety risk for staff, customers, and the local neighborhood. The cannabis industry got a big boost today, with the American Bankers Association urging Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act, writing:

Since 1996, voters across the country have determined that it is appropriate to allow their citizens to use cannabis for medical purposes and, since 2012, for adult use. Currently, 36 states have legalized cannabis for medical or adult use and that number continues to grow. Nevertheless, current federal law prevents banks from safely banking cannabis businesses, as well as the ancillary businesses that provide them with goods and services.

As a result, a majority of states are struggling to address the significant challenges to public safety, as well as regulatory and tax compliance that go hand-in-hand with businesses forced to operate in an all-cash environment. Providing a mechanism for the cannabis industry to access the banking system would help those communities reduce cash-motivated crimes, increase the efficiency of tax collections, and improve the financial transparency of the cannabis industry. Since bank accounts are monitored in accordance with existing anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act requirements, bringing cannabis-related legitimate businesses into the mainstream banking sector would also help law enforcement to identify suspicious transactions – an opportunity that is not available in an all-cash environment.

The ABA was joined by 51 state banking associations, who in a separate letter penned, noting that the “SAFE Banking Act is a banking-specific bipartisan solution that would address the reality of the current marketplace.” No matter anyone’s stance on cannabis legalization, and the ABA noted that they are neutral on the issue, they should support the SAFE Banking Act. Denying cannabis companies access to bank accounts leads unnecessary complications and danger for our local communities. Hopefully the House passes the common-sense legislation overwhelmingly and the Senate follows suit.

UPDATE: The SAFE Banking Act passed!!!

Gallup: All-Time High 68% of Americans Support Cannabis Legalization

Imagine living in a world where only 12% of Americans support cannabis legalization. The year Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and the Beatles played their last performance, 1969, was when Gallup first polled Americans, “Do you think the use of marijuana should be legal or not?” Nearly 90% of Americans either opposed ending prohibition or were unsure. Fast forward to 2021, and we can clearly see the success of the cannabis community all around us, in our many political and cultural victories. And Gallup has the receipts, as support for legalization has reached an all-time high of 68%, as the polling company revealed, noting the success of the movement over the decades:

Americans are more likely now than at any point in the past five decades to support the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. The 68% of U.S. adults who currently back the measure is not statistically different from last year’s 66%; however, it is nominally Gallup’s highest reading, exceeding the 64% to 66% range seen from 2017 to 2019.

Gallup first measured the public’s views of marijuana legalization in 1969, when 12% of Americans backed it; by 1977, support had more than doubled to 28%. It did not exceed 30% until 2000 but has risen steeply in the two decades since then, and is now twice what it was in 2001 and 2003.

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The trajectory of the public’s support for the legalization of marijuana has coincided with an increasing number of states approving it. It is not entirely clear whether the shift in public opinion has caused the change in many state laws or vice versa. Given recent trends, more states are likely to legalize recreational marijuana in the future. Considering the high level of public support for such a measure, a change in federal policy could even occur.

While its been easy to see the success of the drug policy reform community in educating the public about cannabis, it’s always great to view hard data as our fight for freedom will only get harder in the electoral battles ahead. Reefer Madness prohibition has been the law of the land for decades and prison-industrial complex and other business interests that have perversely benefitted from arrests and convictions of those that dare to utilize cannabis, will give up their entrenched power willingly. If every state had a fair initiative process, where we can take the issue directly to voters, our electoral challenge would be much easier. Passing groundbreaking legislation that upends nearly a century of lies is still a difficult task, especially when wealthy business interests opposing legalization flex their political muscle. However, with the truth on our side and supermajority support from American voters, we just need to continue doing the hard work that has led to so many successes, step by step, state by state.

Cannabis community, come celebrate your supermajority status at Kind Leaf in beautiful, Pendleton, Oregon. Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique has the best selection in the Great Northwest and great deals that include discounts for military veterans, OMMP patients, and senior citizens.

St. Louis County, Missouri, Decriminalizes Cannabis, Effort Led by Former Police Chief

Each electoral and cultural victory for cannabis law reform should be celebrated as it is one more swing of the sledgehammer at Reefer Madness prohibition and the failed War on Drugs. Poll after poll has shown that the people are on the side of freedom and common sense, whether polling Americans at large or voters in Louisiana. Popular support is extremely important as we fight to allow regular banking services for the industry and ultimately deschedule cannabis under federal law, but nothing begets more success for the movement like electoral success. Decriminalizing personal cannabis possession in St. Louis County, Missouri, is very notable, not just because it adds about a million residents living in a decriminalized area, or that it will help end cannabis prohibition in the Show-Me State in the next couple of years, but because of who introduced the decriminalization bill as KSDK Channel 5 reported:

The St. Louis County Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to reduce the penalties for certain amounts — less than 35 grams — of recreational marijuana possession. 

It goes from a fine of not more than $1,000 or one year in jail or both to a fine of not more than $100.

The legislation was sponsored by former St. Louis County police Chief Tim Fitch. Ernie Trakas was the lone “no” vote, explaining that he considers marijuana a gateway drug that can lead to users becoming addicted to more dangerous illicit substances.

Most importantly, people utilizing cannabis won’t be subject to arrest and up to a year in jail for possessing a personal amount of cannabis, a change that will improve many lives. Additionally, having a former police chief, while still harboring some outdated concerns about the Gateway theory, introducing a successfully decriminalization in Middle America is just another great sign in our fight to legalize federally. Also worth noting, Maplewood City, a suburb of St. Louis with about 8,000 residents, also voted to decriminalize up to 35 grams, setting the fine at just $1. The Maplewood City Council based their new law off of one recently passed in nearby Webster Groves. Step by step, city by city, state by state, freedom is on the march.

Cannabis Community Lost Two Influential Members in Steve Fox and Sara Batterby

Just yesterday, I blogged about the progress the cannabis community had made, thanks to two cannabis law reform pioneers that were no longer with us, Dennis Peron and Jack Herer. Each new generation of advocates stands upon the shoulders of giants and those two, along with Eugene, Oregon’s Elvy Musikka, and many others, have formed the foundation of our fight for freedom. Two recent influential members of the cannabis community, Colorado’s Steve Fox and Oregon’s Sara Batterby, left their own important marks on our movement. Like many, I was floored by the unexpected death of two folks impacted many, and were taken way too young.

With a long political career, Steve was a leader of the cannabis legalization movement in Colorado, helping write and pass Amendment 64, which ended prohibition in the Centennial State in 2012, undoubtedly one of the most important events in drug policy reform history. The Denver Post reported of his passing, noting that he took them to task when their editorial board lamented the reported rise in Colorado’s cannabis use:

“The more important question is why the editorial board considers an increase in marijuana use ‘disturbing,’” Fox wrote at the time. “This survey only showed a statistically significant increase in consumption by adults. Is this disturbing for moral reasons or is it based on societal costs? Did the survey cite any specific negative public health outcomes from increased adult use? (Answer: No.)”

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“Steve Fox was a trailblazer in the legalization of cannabis here in Colorado and helped lay the groundwork for today’s legal industry. His innovative spirit has left a lasting impact that won’t soon fade. My heart goes out to his wife and daughters,” Gov. Jared Polis said.

Fox is survived by his wife and two daughters. A GoFundMe page has been set up to support his family. Raised in the Jewish faith, Fox believed and practiced “Tikkun olam,” to “repair or heal the world,” according to the release. “That is what drove Steve to take on the cause of cannabis policy reform. And it was what drove Steve to be the person he was. Tikkun olam. Mission accomplished, dear friend.”

I first met Sara Batterby when she helped co-founded HiFi Farms and the the Portland Women Grow chapter following the passage of Measure 91. Her Silicon Valley background was unique to the Oregon movement and she quickly became extremely influential and I was fortunate to speak alongside her on several panels and hearing committees. She was a force to be reckoned with and went on to dedicate her work to helping startups, especially women-led ventures, secure capital for their business efforts. Further, she became an advocate for raising up people of color and the LGBT community in the industry as well. In addition to her capital funding efforts, she moved onto a farm, cultivating hemp and raising cattle. Ran into Sara by chance in Southern Oregon last Halloween and she introduced me to a song that she loved that became an instant addition to my playlist. The Cannabis Business Times reported on her passing:

“Sara’s heart beat harder for purpose and justice and at the heart of that was an anger at injustice. Injustice would always fuel her. The injustice of capital unevenly distributed,” Batterby’s family wrote in a statement. “The injustice of a legal system that criminalized cannabis. She used her brain to figure out ways to beat the system or change the system. She used her charisma to convince people to join her. And she made it happen through pure perseverance, determination and stubbornness.”

Additionally, Batterby worked with over 50 founders across industries such as food, apparel and cannabis, and was also recognized as a “Woman of Influence” in 2019 by the Portland Business Journal. In Cannabis Business Times, Batterby was interviewed for a 2017 article, where she shared the challenges she faced as a cultivator to start her business and the steps she took to overcome those challenges. She was later interviewed for a 2018 article—discussing resources to help women advance in the cannabis industry.

To read more about Batterby, visit her memorial page.

While I had the pleasure of knowing both Steve and Sara, many others in the movement knew them better, and my heart goes out to them, their friends, and family who are mourning and grieving. Life is too fragile and fleeting. Death eventually comes for all of us and one of the most important things that we can do is live our lives in ways that improve the world and those around us, so when we pass, our good memories and good work live on. Steve Fox and Sara Batterby definitely lived their lives in profound ways in that they both live on. May the both rest in peace and power.

Vox Thinks That Cannabis Legalization Has Already Won. Yes, but Let’s Not Let Up.

Cannabis legalization is on a great winning streak. Over 43% of our nation now lives in a state that has ended prohibition and there has never been a better time to be a drug policy law reformer. The success that the cannabis community has had politically and culturally is nothing short of remarkable. I had an activist yesterday tell me that they are amazed that I have been able to stay sane after two decades in this fight, let alone those that have two decades on me. I countered that I celebrate all of our victories along the way and while it can be frustrating, I take solace in knowing that we have come so far since 1996, the year when California became the first state to legalize medicinal cannabis. All of our success has finally moved into the halls of Congress and ending Uncle Sam’s Reefer Madness seems inevitable and we’re gonna see more articles like Vox’s declaring that “Marijuana legalization has won” stating:

At this point, the question of nationwide marijuana legalization is more a matter of when, not if. At least two-thirds of the American public support the change, based on various public opinion surveys in recent years. Of the 15 states where marijuana legalization has been on the ballot since 2012, it was approved in 13 — including Republican-dominated Alaska, Montana, and South Dakota (although South Dakota’s measure is currently held up in the courts). In the 2020 election, the legalization initiative in swing state Arizona got nearly 300,000 more votes than either Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

Legalization has also created a big new industry in very populous states, including California and (soon) New York, and that industry is going to push to continue expanding. One of the US’s neighbors, Canada, has already legalized pot, and the other, Mexico, is likely to legalize it soon, creating an international market that would love to tap into US consumers.

The walls are closing in on this issue for legalization opponents — and quickly.

Of course, what German Lopez writes in Vox is true, but there is a big “but” to consider. Legalization has won, BUT there is still much work to be done. Legalization is inevitable, BUT only because advocates have laid the foundation for decades and are continuing to do the hard work of winning elections, either by taking the case directly to the voters or winning over legislators and governors. The cannabis community has won the cultural battle because we have been right all along, just as those pioneering activists like Oregon’s Elvy Musikka and those no longer with us, like Jack Herer and Dennis Peron, were right about the ills of prohibition all along. However, we can’t let up.

Many old-school activists thought that ending the war on cannabis was inevitable during the 1970s when states first started decriminalizing personal amounts, but then there was the “Just Say No” expansion of the Drug War during the 1980s and into the 90s. This isn’t the time to spike the football, count all of our chickens, or insert-phrase-that-means-celebrate-prematurely, just yet. We still need to pass the SAFE Banking Act, free prisoners, expunge criminal records, implement equitable regulations, AND end prohibition all across the land. Step by step, state by state, we’re making it happen, but let’s continue to the work and not let the headlines get to our heads just yet.

Minnesota, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island Could All Legalize Cannabis This Year

This year has already been a historic one for the cannabis community with New York, Virginia, and New Mexico passing bills to end prohibition. A decade ago, there were no states that had legalized and now over 40% of our nation lives in a state that has voted to end prohibition. From an industry standpoint, New York is a huge get as the state will become one of the biggest markets in the world and its status as a financial and media hub should help create the momentum to pass the SAFE Banking Act to finally allow regulated cannabis businesses to access normal financial services. The criminal justice and social equity reforms passed in the Empire State should also resonate and help convince states to legalize right, even those that were earlier pioneers. Culturally, Virginia being the first state in the former Confederacy to sweep Reefer Madness prohibition into the dustbin of history is a landmark development that will bring more key support. New Mexico’s biggest impact outside of its border could be its influence on Texas as voters, legislators, and policymakers will start to notice that they are missing out on jobs and revenue for no reason as residents of the Lonestar State take advantage of legal stores in the Land of Enchantment.

More history could still be made as Minnesota, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island still have the potential to join the growing number of states that have legalized more freedom, jobs, and revenue, as Marijuana Moment reported:

From Delaware to Minnesota, lawmakers are still working to end prohibition by the year’s end. While there’s no guarantee that they’ll be successful, there’s growing momentum for legalization with top lawmakers and governors on board, and each state that enacts the policy change adds pressure on those around them to follow suit.

If two more states get legal marijuana bills signed this session, 2021 would set a record for the highest number of new legalization laws enacted in a single year. And if just one more state were to adopt legalization this session, 2021 would tie 2016 and 2020 as a year with the most number of states to legalize cannabis—quite remarkable given that no states are putting the issue directly to voters on the ballot this year.

Marijuana Moment provides a great breakdown of where the bills currently stand in these states. In addition to these four northern states, it should be noted that Louisiana could be the next southern state to join Virginia. A legalization bill was introduced last week and 2/3 of voters now support ending prohibition. The work of moving state by state is a ton of work, forged by advocates over years, if not decades, but it’s necessary to end harmful arrests and convictions while creating much needed jobs and revenue. Sooner, rather than later, this gains at the state level will create a tipping point to where Congress and the White House will no longer be able to deny the will of the voters and we can finally cure Uncle Sam’s Reefer Madness once and for all.