Category: Current Events

Cannabis Sanity Momentum Continues as Alabama Legislature Passes Medical

I’m old enough to remember November 4th, 1996, when no state had passed a medical cannabis law. California voters passed Prop 215 the following day, and the medical cannabis revolution was put on hyperspeed as Washington and Oregon completed completed the West Coast and now 36 states have enacted medical laws, while 17 states, two territories, and our nation’s capital have legalized for all adults over 21. If you would have told me a few years ago that the Alabama Legislature (ALABAMA!) would pass a medical cannabis law in 2021, I would have been rather shocked, to be perfectly honest, but when you have hardworking advocates armed with the truth and common sense on their side, victories that were once long-shot dreams, can become a reality. Marijuana Moment reported on the historic victory in the Deep South:

“After clearing two House committees last month, the measure passed the full chamber by a vote of 68-34 on Thursday. The Senate, which had previously approved an earlier version of the legislation in March, then signed off on the other body’s changes in a 20-9 vote.

“The win came after opponents staged a lengthy filibuster on the House floor earlier this week, drawing out the process by making a series of speeches and asking questions until the end of the day’s session at midnight approached. Those stalling tactics did not continue on Thursday, however.

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“To qualify for the program, patients would have to be diagnosed with one of about 20 conditions, including anxiety, sleep disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and intractable pain. Regulators would not be able to independently add additional conditions, leaving that decision up to lawmakers in future sessions.”

The bill now heads to Republican Governor Kay Ivey’s desk and her office emailed Marijuana Moment: “As with any piece of legislation that reaches the governor’s desk, we look forward to thoroughly reviewing it. We appreciate the debate from the Legislature on the topic. This is certainly an emotional issue. We are sensitive to that and will give it the diligence it deserves.”

Hopefully, Gov. Ivey does the right thing and improves the lives of thousands upon thousands of Alabama patients battling severe and debilitating medical conditions. Medical cannabis’ passage in conservative Alabama continues the momentum for the cannabis sanity movement that has turned the tide against Reefer Madness with voters, but the most important thing is that patients’ quality of life will ameliorate. Step by step, state by state, cannabis sanity is winning the day. A sincere thanks to advocates everywhere, especially those working in legislatures which have long held extreme anti-cannabis views.

Kind Leaf is proud to always offer discounts to Oregon Medical Marijuana Program patients, military veterans, and all senior citizens.

Featured photo credit: Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance

Philadelphia Bans Pre-employment Cannabis Testing, Oregon Should Follow Suit

Step by step, the cannabis law reform community has been fighting for freedom and equality, with common sense and the truth on our side. Even after legalization, too many challenges and barriers remain as old convictions can still hinder employment searches and employers are still free to maintain “drug-free” workplace policies that really only prohibit cannabis as its the only federally-illegal substance that can be detected by urine tests weeks after usage. With even pioneering states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, still allowing employment barriers for the cannabis community, it’s good to see some locales stepping up with sensible drug-testing laws. New York City helped lead the way in banning, with some exceptions, pre-employment cannabis testing of job applicants, paving the path for New York State to follow suit when full legalization passed. Now, Philadelphia has passed an ordinance by a 15-1 vote that prohibits employers from discriminating against hirees for cannabis use, with some exceptions, even though Pennsylvania still maintains prohibition while allowing medicinal use. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

Many Philadelphia employers would be prohibited from testing new hires for marijuana use under legislation City Council approved Thursday.

The bill, by Councilmember Derek Green, makes it illegal for companies “to require a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of marijuana” before hiring them.

But it exempts many types of jobs, including law enforcement, employees who need a commercial driver’s license, many health-care workers, and a broad category that includes “any position in which the employee could significantly impact the health or safety of other employees or members of the public.” The bill also doesn’t prohibit employers of unionized workforces from testing for marijuana if employees agreed to testing in their collective bargaining contracts.

The employment law firm of Littler Mendelson added:

“The ordinance does not address how to determine which positions could impact the health or safety of other employees or members of the public.  According to the ordinance, forthcoming regulations should provide guidance on which positions fall into that category.  If Philadelphia follows the lead of New York City, which adopted a similar ordinance and regulations in 2020, certain types of roles and job duties – such as regular driving – may be identified as significantly impacting the health or safety of others.

“The ordinance also does not apply if drug testing is required pursuant to: (1) a federal or state statute, regulation, or order or (2) a federal government contract or grant.  Additionally, if an employer is a party to a collective bargaining agreement that covers pre-employment drug testing, then the ordinance does not apply.

“At this point, it is unclear what positions employers can designate as significantly impacting the health and safety of other employees or members of the public.  Employers should be on the lookout for the forthcoming regulations, which should provide more clarity.  Nevertheless, in light of this ordinance, Philadelphia employers should review, and make necessary changes to, their drug testing policies and procedures before the January 1, 2022 effective date.”

While some exceptions for dangerous jobs may make sense, it doesn’t benefit society to treat cannabis consumers as second-class citizens that are banned from gainful employment. Just as sports leagues are starting to change their policies, employers and governments need to follow suit and get with the times. The Reefer Madness Era is over and the Cheech-and-Chong-and-Jeff-Spicoli stereotypes of the stupid stoners belong in the dustbin of history as well. We’ve come a long way, and Oregon has helped lead the way, but there’s still more work to be done. Let’s end counterproductive drug tests that merely discriminate against the cannabis community.

Kind Leaf is proud to support the work of advocates fighting for freedom and equality. As always, Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique offers the best selection in the Great Northwest and provides discounts for military veterans, senior citizens, and OMMP patients.

Featured photo credit: Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance

Momentum in Sports Continues As Florida Boxing Commission Exempts Cannabis

Momentum in sports is an interesting phenomenon. A lot of sports announcers will certainly tout momentum as a factor in games and plenty of athletes will attest that the “Big Mo” is real, that a certain accomplishment helps a team win a game or even several games in a row. Scientists and researchers (NERDS!!! Ha!) may claim that no evidence proves that momentum exists in sports, those of us that have watched Michael Jordan’s and Tom Brady’s teams win time and time again, will just beg to differ.

Those same academics may also conclude that there’s no such thing as political momentum as well, but I’ll be a contrarian until the end and contend that I know in my bones that success begets success and that one cannabis victory does indeed create momentum that helps future victories. Sports play a big role in American culture, both reflecting our nation while at the same time influencing us. As cannabis has gone more mainstream, sports has reflected that, which in turn helps create the momentum for future wins for advocates. Fresh off the heels of positive developments in cannabis testing by the NBA, NFL, and UFC, and other leagues, the Florida Boxing Commission just announced that it would stop testing boxers and mixed martial artists for cannabis as ESPN reported:

At a meeting Tuesday, the commission voted to essentially eliminate marijuana from its prohibited drug list, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation spokesperson Patrick Fargason told ESPN on Tuesday. Previously in Florida, even trace amounts of cannabis found in a fighter’s system would lead to a suspension, fine and a victory getting overturned.

“We’re not testing for it,” Fargason said. “We’re not doing anything with it — period.”

The change was based on a recommendation from the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) medical advisory committee, as well as the UFC’s anti-doping policy run by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Fargason said. He added that if a fighter is visibly impaired on fight night, the commission would take action. But Florida will no longer test for cannabis with regards combat sports competition.

Professional athletes put so much stress on their bodies and boxers and MMA fighters are obviously at risk of serious injuries and have to endure a lot of pain. With evidence demonstrating the pain relief attributes of cannabinoids and the potential to use less opioids, far more dangerous and addictive drugs, it is common sense that professional athletes should have an opportunity to use a safer substance that could provide medicinal benefits. As more professional athletes and their fans are educated on the truth about cannabis, we’re only going to continue to see stronger popular and political support for ending federal prohibition once and for all. Big Mo is with the cannabis community!

Oregon Equity Investment Act Helps Lead the Automatic Expungement Revolution

The jobs created and revenue generated by legalizing and regulating cannabis garners most of the headlines and it is certainly great for the cannabis community to be able to venture into stores like Kind Leaf to access amazing strains and products, but the foundation of the movement is criminal justice reform. Too many lives are hurt and ruined by the classist and racist War on Drugs. Most tragically, innocent people like Breonna Taylor and Kathryn Johnston have been killed in drug raids while the United States embarrassingly has the highest rate of incarcerated residents in the world because of unjust drug laws. Harmful convictions then follow people for their entire lives, hindering education, employment, and housing opportunities. PBS covered how automatic expungement of to clear previous cannabis convictions is picking up steam in states that have ended prohibition:

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana over the last nine years, and industry advocates have applauded measures to de-stigmatize the substance and bring major revenue to state coffers.

But for people with lingering drug convictions like Michael, the news has raised more questions about what legalization means for their criminal records.

Currently in Virginia, “you have to go through all these hoops and loopholes to actually have an expungement,” Michael said. This may soon change. Like many other states that recently legalized marijuana, Virginia lawmakers included provisions in their legislation that over several years will allow for the automatic expungement of certain marijuana convictions, meaning people like Michael may one day see their records cleared without having to petition to do so.

Oregon House Bill 3112, the Equity Investment Act, previously known as the Cannabis Equity Act, would add momentum to this important revolution. An email from the Cannabis Equity PAC and the NuLeaf Project explained:

In July 2020, our workgroup came together in response to Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and a rash of other police violences against Black people that represent the extreme cases of a prevailing problem: racially-biased over-policing. Our workgroup was earnestly formed by community and legislators as a reparative justice response with cannabis as the tool for justice.

Cannabis possession arrests contributed to a multi-generational economic downward spiral for Black communities. As available tax dollars from legal cannabis continues to grow, cannabis is the right nexus to address equity in Black communities. 

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Equity Investment Act’s 4 parts are:

  • Community investment fund comprised of 25% of cannabis taxes and 10% of Criminal Fines Account, representing app. $50M initially 
  • Free, automatic expungement for cannabis possession crimes, including expungement for people who still owe fines and fees
  • Cannabis equity licenses, including addition of On Premise and Delivery licenses
  • Office & board to implement community investments and track effectiveness

Clearing your criminal record of nonviolent conduct, especially when that conduct has become legal, should not be dependent upon your ability to navigate a complicated process and pay an attorney and filing fees. It’s immoral for a state to continue punishing people for conduct that has become a regulated billion-dollar industry putting millions upon millions into the state’s coffers. A sincere thanks to the Cannabis Equity PAC and the NuLeaf Project for helping lead this important fight in Oregon and all advocates that are putting in the time to achieve more justice here in the Great Northwest and across our nation.

In Historic First, U.S. Senate Majority Headlined NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally

With all-time high poll numbers, last year’s passage of the MORE Act that would end federal cannabis prohibition, this year’s overwhelming vote for the SAFE Banking Act, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s pledge that a legalization bill will be introduced “soon,” there are many reasons for the cannabis community to be encouraged that Uncle Sam is on the verge of ending the war on cannabis. In a symbolic, but still important move, New York Senator Chuck Schumer made history on May 1st by becoming the first U.S. Senate Majority Leader to speak at a cannabis event when he headlined the NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally. Celebstoner announced that Schumer would be the featured speaker at the annual event, and Rolling Stone provided the coverage:

For decades — long before 4/20 became the unofficial weed holiday — New Yorkers of all stripes have gathered on the first Saturday in May to celebrate marijuana and demand its decriminalization at the NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally. Revelers would flout the law, smoking joints in public, under the assumption that there was a sort of strength in numbers. This year, though, was a little different.

On March 31st, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to legalize weed — beginning the process of opening recreational cannabis dispensaries in the next year or two, and legalizing adult use and possession immediately. And in an unprecedented move, the state now allows marijuana to be smoked anywhere tobacco is allowed. While that doesn’t include parks — like Union Square, where this year’s march originated on Saturday, May 1st — the cops seemed to let it slide, and as marchers took to the streets, it was perfectly legal for everyone (21-plus) to light up as they walked. This year, those at the rally were even joined by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who pledged to bring federal cannabis legalization “the right way.”

Of course, it is 100% reasonable to be distrustful of most politicians and their promises. However, we shouldn’t let cynicism prevent us from recognizing the advancements that we’ve made. Yes, the Senate Majority Leader showing up to speak at a cannabis rally is simply performative and doesn’t immediately make any tangible changes. However, the fact that that one of the most powerful people in our government is willing to speak at an event that was taboo entirely not that long ago, is a big step forward culturally. We must continue holding Senator Schumer and everyone in government accountable, but we can still appreciate that he was willing to hobnob with the cannabis community in such a visible way.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaking at the NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally. Photo credit: Troy Smit/NYC Cannabis Parade & Rally

Financial Magazine Barron’s Provides Cannabis Industry Investment Advice

Like various investment sectors and hot trends (GameStop!!!), the cannabis industry has been a wild roller coaster ride for investors. Before there was the GameStop short squeeze saga, there was Tilray. Canadian cannabis companies, thanks to their nation’s wise decision to legalize first, were able to get a jump on the competition, but financial magazine Barron’s has provided tips on investing in the future American market as federal legalization seems inevitable in the United States:

Now, events are breaking in favor of the American operators. On April 19, the House of Representatives passed a bill by a 3-to-1 margin that would allow the pot industry to use the federally regulated banking system. Senate Democratic leaders support a matching bank bill. Meanwhile, Covid-19 has left state governments desperate for tax revenue. New York, Virginia, and New Mexico recently joined the 13 states that have allowed recreational sales to adults. Over time, recreational sales will probably come to the 20 states that now allow sale by prescription. That could spur the remaining state holdouts to fall in line, if federal legalization doesn’t happen first. So, sales can’t help but grow.

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While the stocks of most Canadian producers have fallen sharply in the past two years, the shares of U.S. operators have gained. Upside remains. The market caps of the eight biggest U.S. cannabis companies add up to $33 billion. That’s a reasonable four times the $7.5 billion in aggregate sales that analysts forecast for next year, and 10 times the expected cash flows. The overall U.S. market is several times larger than the leading companies, and market researcher BDS Analytics foresees sales topping $40 billion by 2026. The illicit market is perhaps twice that size. If the history of the alcoholic-beverage industry is any guide, customers will eventually come over to the legal market.

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What makes less sense is the lopsided attention that investors pay to Canadian pot producers, who may be listed in the U.S. but mainly have Canada’s tiny market for their sales. The real action is right under their nose.

As Barron’s noted, the lack of banking access and the 280E IRS tax code have been heavy burdens on the cannabis industry, even more so on small, local craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf, than on wealthy multi-state actors and international corporations. With any investment, it’s buyer beware, but the cannabis industry is even more volatile as the whims of politicians and voters can change, but it certainly looks like the future is bright. While the time could be now to invest, it’s definitely a good time to start doing your homework if investing in domestic U.S. companies intrigues you.

Whether you choose to invest in cannabis stocks or not, it’s always a good time to invest in your own happiness and the local economy by supporting Kind Leaf in beautiful Pendleton. At Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique, you get to choose from the best selection in the Great Northwest and you know that your hard-earned dollars stay in the Beaver State to promote the local economy and fund important services, including much-needed drug treatment and recovery programs. This week’s specials, while supplies last, include 30% off Charvak, Zurple Punch and Platinum Cookies flower. For extracts, there’s 30% off Self Made Shatter, East Fork Cultivar PAX Pod Cherry Wine. If edibles are more your speed, then you can enjoy 30% off Mr. Moxey’s Ginger 5:1 Mints, Golden Fruit Chew Blast Lemon Ginger, Magic Soda, and Muru Cannamixer.

Automatically Release Cannabis Prisoners and Expunge Criminal Records

Ending cannabis prohibition is a transformational policy that ends thousands upon thousands of arrests while generating millions upon millions of dollars. Lives are drastically improved as nonviolent, law-abiding citizens no longer have their educational, employment, and housing opportunities stripped from them. And more people have access to a safe medicine that can help alleviate their condition, and for some, could even be life-saving. But more still needs to be done after legalizing cannabis, starting with broader criminal justice implications. First and foremost, everyone in prison for cannabis should be released from prison and all criminal records shoulds be expunged automatically. This shouldn’t be controversial, but it’s not easy to accomplish.

Following the passage of Oregon Measure 91 in 2014, one of my favorite stories that emerged was of a man who had tears of joy after he was able to expunge a felony that had followed him his entire life. While I am still extremely happy that Oregonians can remove criminal convictions that they previously couldn’t, we didn’t go far enough. Clearing your criminal history shouldn’t depend upon the ability to pay an attorney, filing fees, and jumping through hurdles. Cannabis is legal now, signifying that it was a mistake to criminalize it in the first place. People shouldn’t have their lives hindered forever because the law was an error. They are grappling with this very issue in Virginia, one of the most recent states to end prohibition, as NBC Channel 12 reported:

Marijuana will soon be legal in the commonwealth starting July 1, but that does not mean those jailed for marijuana-related offenses will get out right away.

While the new legislation takes effect July 1, people will not have marijuana-related charges cleared from their records right off the bat, especially if they are more serious.

“I’m pretty sure that the expungement of past convictions is going to take a while to put into effect,” Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Hingeley said.

Noah Strike, a columnist for the The Cavalier Daily, rightly took the state to task:

The General Assembly’s move to legalize recreational marijuana and create a regulated market for it in the Commonwealth is undeniably a good thing. Governor Northam’s commitment to social justice in legalization is exactly what Virginia needs in our contemporary period. But it is impossible to legalize marijuana under the banner of social justice without accounting for and actively addressing the historical harm American drug policies have caused. It is impossible to fulfill our goal of racial justice without freeing those incarcerated for past marijuana offenses.

Legalizing personal possession and regulating cannabis commerce is only a part of the battle to implementing sensible and sound legalization policies. There’s a lot of work to be done after cannabis is legal. Let’s start with ending the ridiculous notion that people should have job and housing opportunities denied because the state made the mistake of criminalizing cannabis in the first place.

Texas Cannabis and Psychedelics Legislation Advancing Along

Step by step, state by state, we are making progress against Reefer Madness prohibition and the failed Drug War overall. While West Coast states and others with the initiative process have led the way in positive reforms, it’s imperative that we continue to make progress all across the nation and in states where legislatures are the only recourse to improving our laws. As more people become educated about the benefits of cannabis legalization and other drug policy reforms, it’s only a matter of time before dedicated, hardworking advocates win important victories across our nation. Each state just adds more ammunition to our battle of ideas in the halls of Congress, as well as more political allies willing to cast important votes, such as implementing the SAFE Banking Act and ending federal prohibition altogether. Everything is bigger in Texas, so any positive reforms secured in the Lone Star State will reverberate throughout the land. As Marijuana Moment reported, there are some important developments taking place:

The Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill to reduce penalties for possession of marijuana concentrates—and lawmakers separately advanced legislation to require studies on the therapeutic potential of certain psychedelics for military veterans.

The cannabis concentrates measure would make it so possession of up to two ounces of those products would be downgraded to a class B misdemeanor. The bill cleared the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee earlier this month, and now it’s been approved on second reading in the full chamber, with a final vote to send it to the Senate expected as early as Wednesday.

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Meanwhile, the psychedelics research legislation from Rep. Alex Dominguez (D) passed in the House Public Health Committee on Monday. The panel approved amendment that includes changes limiting the scope of the state-funded study to focus on military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), rather than a broader list of conditions attached to the initial bill.

Reducing criminal penalties associated with cannabis possession is obviously a step in the right direction while the  psychedelics legislation could be a real game changer. The Texas psychedelics proposal require the state to study the medical risks and benefits of psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine for veterans while mandating a clinical trial into psilocybin for veterans battling post-traumatic stress. Helping veterans that have sacrificed so much for our nation is the least that we can do and demonstrating success treating PTSD will surely open the doors for further research and important policy changes throughout the United States.

Oregonians, Just Say NO to House Bill 2265

The sausage making that goes on at legislatures is often not for the faint of heart. What can be introduced as one bill can be bait and switched on folks with very little time to understand the true implications of the bill. Unfortunately, House Bill 2265 is one such bill this 2021 legislative session and this bait and switch will be harmful to many current medical cannabis patients who most probably have no idea that their medicinal cannabis gardens will be impacted and that they may lose access to their medicine altogether. House Bill 2265, introduced by Representative John Lively, used to merely state that:

“The Oregon Liquor Control Commission shall study cannabis in this state.
The commission shall report its findings and recommendations to an interim committee of
the Legislative Assembly related to economic development no later than December 31, 2021.”

Now, thanks to an amendment, House Bill 2265 does much more than just study cannabis, it now moves enforcement of registering medical cannabis gardens from the Oregon Health Authority to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Here’s the description of the amendment that actually passed the General Government Committee by the Legislative Policy and Research Office:

“Replaces the measure. Directs OLCC to establish by rule a medical marijuana grow site registration process.
Defines medical marijuana grow site as a location where marijuana is produced for registry identification
cardholders, but not including marijuana grow sites registered by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Specifies
criteria for OLCC registration and for the transfer of marijuana; sets grow site production limits; establishes civil
penalties for violations; and establishes OLCC registration deadlines. Allows OLCC to adopt by reference applicable
OHA rules. Limits a person designated to produce marijuana by a registry identification cardholder under an OHA
grow site registration to grow for no more than two cardholders. Allows the OHA to renew marijuana grow site
registrations issued by the authority until June 1, 2022, clarifying that beginning September 1, 2021, the authority
may not issue registration to a grow site that produces marijuana for more than two registry identification
cardholders. Requires the OLCC to receive applications for grow site registrations no later than June 1, 2022 for
sites previously registered under OHA or producing marijuana for three or more registry identification
cardholders. Declares emergency, effective on passage.”

Just a few problems with the bill. First, just the concept of moving Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) regulation from the OHA to the OLCC goes against what the voters intended when passing Measure 91 as the legalization law clearly stated that the OMMP should not be infringed upon by ending prohibition for all adults. The next concern is moving private medical information from the OHA to the OLCC. I’ve had my issues with OHA’s regulation of the OMMP over the years, but at least they are experienced with protecting private medical information. I’ve praised and criticized the OLCC when deserved, but the agency doesn’t have the same experience and expertise protecting private medical information as OHA. Additionally, the HB 2265 allows the OLCC to revoke registration from OMMP applicants who are “insolvent or incompetent or physically unable to carry on the management of the
medical marijuana grow site” and “in the habit of using alcoholic liquor, habit-forming drugs, marijuana or controlled
substances to excess”. These powers to strip licensure may be relevant to the billion-dollar adult-use market, but not for small medical cannabis gardens. Finally, the OLCC has a lot on its plate and it is going to cost money and resources to move OMMP regulation from one government body to another. This bill is simply not needed.

There are more issues with the bill and I urge folks to stay up-to-date with Compassionate Oregon, the state’s leading medical cannabis advocates that are doing the heavy lifting to defeat House Bill 2265 and protect and improve the OMMP every legislative session. There are only about 20,000 OMMP patients remaining and the OLCC-regulated cannabis industry is bringing in more money and generating more revenue than ever expected, there’s no reason to add more hurdles for patients battling severe and debilitating medical conditions and their providers. Oregonians, please contact your state legislators and the House Ways and Means Committee to let them know that they should vote NO on House Bill 2265. Also, contact Governor Kate Brown, and let her know that you do NOT support this bill as well.

Kind Leaf provides 15% discounts to all OMMP patients. There are always discounts for senior citizens and military veterans as well. You can order online with Leafly Pickup or come peruse the best selection in the Great Northwest.

Featured photo credit: Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance

Fivethirtyeight: Americans Want to Legalize Cannabis, Why Won’t Uncle Sam Listen?

Poll after poll, electoral victory after electoral victory, and cultural advancement after advancement, it’s clear that a supermajority of Americans want to end cannabis prohibition. It’s been maddening for many longtime drug policy reformers that elected officials across the nation and in Washington, DC, haven’t followed the will of the voters. Public opinion has gotten to such a high watermark that mainstream political observers have taken notice, including Fivethirtyeight.com which takes on why the federal government won’t legalize marijuana when voters from across the political spectrum want to:

“For starters, not all Senate Democrats back Schumer’s plan, and Senate Republicans have yet to show any support for legalization. Additionally, while legalizing marijuana is popular, it isn’t a top priority for many voters. That may be, in part, due to the success of legalization efforts at the state level. More than one in three Americans live in states where marijuana is already legal for recreational use, and a sizable majority live in states where marijuana is legal for medical use. For those who already have access to the drug, it may not matter whether it’s their state government or the federal government making that allowance. Finally, as my colleague Perry Bacon Jr. pointed out earlier this year, electoral politics are increasingly disconnected from policy, meaning that despite the popularity of marijuana legalization, there may simply not be a ton of electoral benefit for Biden for taking up the issue.

“Still, if the polling is any indication, legalizing marijuana is hugely popular, and Biden may yet change his mind, depending on how the politics of the bill play out. And if he does, he may even get some brownie points from Republican voters who support legalization. But if things start to get politically messy, Biden may not have a lot to lose by passing on championing this particular issue.”

With nonpartisan popular support, the US House passing legalization and the SAFE Banking Act, and the Senate Majority Leader supporting legalization, we are on the precipice of ending federal prohibition. However, the corporate interests and prison-industrial complex that have benefited from Reefer Madness policies, won’t give up power easily. We’re gonna have to fight even harder to secure the votes in the Senate and a presidential signature. With the truth and the people on our side, freedom and equality for the cannabis community is within reach. Let’s keep it up.