Tag: Tom Angell

Just Like Every Year, 2020 Will Be a Big Year for Cannabis

Since California passed Proposition 215, becoming the first state to legalize medical cannabis, back in 1996, virtually every single year has been a big year for the cannabis community, as we’ve continued to make progress dismantling Reefer Madness-inspired prohibition across the nation. Major election years tend to have the biggest developments and 2020 is certainly no different as we’ll be seeing numerous states consider important reforms either at the ballot box or through legislative actions. Of course, the federal elections will go a long way towards Uncle Sam’s cannabis policies in the coming years.

One of the most important ballot measures, particularly to those of us living in the Great Pacific Northwest is a medical proposal currently gathering the 50,000+ needed valid signatures in Idaho, the last bastion of complete prohibition in the area. Full disclosure–I helped draft early versions of the initiative, and am extremely proud of the dedicated, hardworking advocates that are currently traveling the state urging folks to sign the petition. With conservative Utah passing medical cannabis in 2018, there is optimism that Idahoans will join the medical cannabis majority, as support for medicinal use as strong majority support across demographics.

Tom Angell reported on Idaho, and 15 other states with potential 2020 reform measures for Forbes, here’s what he had to say about the Gem State:

Idaho is one of only a handful of states in the U.S. that doesn’t even allow patients to access CBD medications with low-THC content. That could change, however, under a proposed medical marijuana ballot measure for which activists are currently collecting signatures.

The Idaho Cannabis Coalition’s proposal would let approved patients and their caregivers possess up to four ounces of marijuana. A system of licensed and regulated growers, processors, testers and retail dispensaries would be established.

Patients would not be allowed to grow their own medicine unless they qualify for a hardship exemption for those who have have a physical, financial or distance difficulty in acquiring marijuana at a dispensary. Those patients could grow up to six plants.

It will be great to see Idaho and other states move forward with positive reforms as there are still too many people getting arrested and patients in need across the United States. In addition to people’s freedom and wellbeing being harmfully disrupted, federal business regulations, particularly tax and banking policies that are hurting small businesses, will only be addressed with a groundswell of support as we increase our political power state by state. So long as we keep working hard and spreading the truth about cannabis, 2020 will be another banner year for our community.

Banking and Hemp Laws Highlight Some Big Victories for the Cannabis Community

Author and historian Joseph Marshall III stated that, “Success is rarely the result of one swell swoop, but more often the culmination of many, many small victories,” while author Chris Brogan, said, “Celebrate small victories often. Mourn failures quickly.” These quotes have stuck with me over the years and are good reminders for activists working in cannabis law reform, or any other field. The cannabis community has had victories big and small over the years, with a few major setbacks, but building upon our wins and not letting our losses detract us, have been important to our momentum.

When the end of the year winds down, there are always a rush of “Top 10” lists and cannabis is no different. Tom Angell listed his top 10 marijuana victories of 2019 in Forbes, including banking and hemp legislation. Here’s a snippet:

After decades of being swept up in broader cannabis prohibition, hemp finally became legal late last year through the 2018 Farm Bill. In response, numerous federal agencies have taken major steps in 2019 to implement the legalization of marijuana’s non-psychoactive cannabis cousin.

While the most high-profile move was the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposal in October of broad rules under which states can submit hemp regulatory plans, a number of other developments occurred following the Farm Bill’s passage.

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In other big cannabis news from Capitol Hill, the full House of Representatives voted in September to approve a bill to let banks service marijuana businesses without fear of being punished by federal regulators.

The roll call tally, 321 to 103, demonstrated broad bipartisan support for fixing an issue that industry leaders and regulators alike have pointed to as a public safety concern. Current law, by preventing many cannabis operators from being able to store their profits with financial institutions, forces them to operate on a cash-only basis and makes them targets for robberies.

The victories for the cannabis community in 2019 will certainly be a springboard into 2020 as the U.S. Senate should take up banking legislation and the federal government is expected to provide more clarity around all things hemp. We can look forward to reforms to pass in a few more states and the advances we make in 2020 will reverberate across Washington D.C., and across the country. We have made such great progress over the years, that it is easy to forget to celebrate all of our victories. Let’s not fall into that trap, let’s appreciate how far that we have come and come back in 2020 more motivated than ever before to fight for freedom and equality.