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Until recent years, cannabis prohibitionists have been able to intimidate most reform-minded politicians by simply threatening to brand them as “soft on drugs.” But finally, thanks to determined activists and broad support from the general public, politicians are starting to use common sense when it comes to cannabis.
Already, 32 states have legalized medical marijuana in some form or another. And in last November’s election, Alaska and Oregon joined Colorado and Washington in full legalization of recreational uses of marijuana.
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Even Congress is beginning to climb aboard the cannabis common sense bandwagon. Tucked in the 2014 Farm Bill was an amendment allowing universities, colleges, and state agriculture departments to grow research plots of industrial hemp – a species of cannabis that is a cousin to marijuana, but produces no high. From West Virginia to Hawaii, 10 states already have laws on their books to allow for this – so our country is finally “advancing” back to the 1790s, when George Washington and Thomas Jefferson considered hemp America’s most beneficial crop. Oh, progress!
Also, Congress included a provision in its December federal spending bill to stop the DEA and Department of Justice from going after states that legalize medical marijuana. They can no longer raid licensed marijuana outlets that service patients who use marijuana to treat everything from the side effects of cancer treatments to epileptic seizures. Marijuana farmers are now safe to cultivate the plant, and the patients themselves are now safe from prosecution for possessing it.
Marijuana Policy Project and Vote Hemp are two organizations that are working with the public and our lawmakers to change the laws and regulations surrounding cannabis. Connect with them at www.mpp.org and www.VoteHemp.com.
“Congress quietly ends federal government’s ban on medical marijuana,” www.latimes.com, December 16, 2014.
“Hemp Research & Pilot Programs Authorized in Sec. 7606 of The Farm Bill,” www.votehemp.com, 2014.