And hello again to all of our marijuana legalization advocate viewers, or those of you that just like to stay informed on marijuana related issues. I am Todd Denkin with TNMNews and I am here to provide you yet another weekly update on what has been happening with weed around the United States and the world! It is October 19th and many of us advocates may have woken up this morning with a smile on our face, the coffee may have tasted better and the air a little fresher. It really feels like our nation is on the brink of legalizing marijuana and I am going to let you know right now about why there is a real change in the wind.
Quick History on Marijuana Legalization Efforts
So, let’s do a real quick history lesson. It starts with decades of constant pressure by cannabis legalization advocates to end the prohibition of marijuana starting shortly after the Controlled Substance Act was signed by Richard Nixon in 1970 making marijuana a Schedule 1 drug. For the most part those efforts were futile, but still, the uneducated decision to list cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug was just too obvious for advocates to ignore. They continued filing lawsuits to have marijuana rescheduled and by doing so they kept the issue alive. Then, the state of California decided that enough is enough and passed the Compassionate Use Act in 1996 creating what has been referred to as a grey market allowing people to purchase medical marijuana through non-profit cooperatives despite marijuana still be very illegal federally. Then other states, such as Colorado and Washington, decided they too would legalize medical marijuana and then in 2014 they began the commercial sale of adult-use marijuana. The domino effect then happened and we now have 31 states that have passed some sort of medical marijuana law and 9 that have passed some sort of adult-use law. While this was all happening, our progressive friends to the north, Canada, became more relaxed towards marijuana until they elected Justin Trudeau, a marijuana legalization advocate, as their prime minister in 2015. Once the rest of the world saw the signs coming that Canada might be close to legalizing marijuana nationwide, the issue of the merits of marijuana being a Schedule 1 drug became a real topic. As an industrialized nation that had signed international drug treaties with the UN, Canada would be in direct violation of those treaties if it were to legalize. The UN needed to either reprimand Canada in some way or change the scheduling of drugs. In June of this year, Canada’s parliament officially passed the Cannabis Act and on Wednesday of this week, Canadians lined the streets to buy marijuana legally for the first time in nearly a century. Next month the World Health Organization will meet in Geneva where it is expected to reschedule marijuana allowing countries to legalize without violating treaties.
Democrats and Republicans Make Statements About Marijuana Reform Here in the US
That brings us back to the US. In 2016 we elected Donald J Trump as our president. On the campaign trail he stated that he supported states’ rights to decide on legalizing marijuana. After taking office he appointed one of the nation’s most outspoken marijuana legalization opponents to run our justice department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who almost immediately threatened states that were legalizing cannabis and revoked the Cole Memo which tentatively protected state legal marijuana businesses from federal prosecution. This move drew many puzzled looks from officials around the world and here in the US as it was a complete step backwards for marijuana reform and made little sense. It also amplified the significance of the marijuana legalization issue, and politicians such as Colorado Senator Cory Gardner used his leverage to force the issue and states like Oklahoma and Vermont brazenly continued their efforts to legalize cannabis. Senators Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren sponsored the STATES Act and President Trump said he would back it. Now that the US can see Canada economically benefiting from marijuana legalization and the UN on the brink of rescheduling marijuana, it has become an issue of money. Nothing gets the US moving more than money does. The latest polls show that 69% of US voters support the legalization of marijuana as well. Now, the democrats and the republicans seem to be in a race to be the one that can take credit for marijuana legalization here in the US.
Republican California Representative Dana Rohrabacher Statement and the Letter from the Democrat Representative Earl Blumenauer out of Oregon
On Friday of last week, the Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher out of California spoke with Fox Business News saying that he had spoken with the white house and received a real commitment from them to move forward with some sort of marijuana reform. “I would expect after the election we will sit down and we’ll start hammering out something that is specific and real,” he said. The midterm elections are happening in just a couple of weeks from now and republicans are concerned they will lose control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Right now their focus is on little else than campaigning and trying to maintain control. Democrats are smelling opportunity and so the Democratic Representative Earl Blumenauer out of Oregon issued a letter on Wednesday laying out how democrats can get marijuana legalized should they take control of Congress. He emphasized the need to not let President Trump or the republican party to take credit for an issue that he believes very much belongs to the democrats. Most marijuana legalization advocates would argue that neither party has made the appropriate effort to reform marijuana laws and that the social injustice and medicinal issue surrounding prohibition should have been apparent to them. No matter what though, now marijuana reform is a real issue here in the United States and it looks like the end of prohibition is on the near term horizon. Despite the fact that marijuana legalization has obviously become a bipartisan issue, it is essential that we all get out and vote in this midterm election.
That raps it up for this week everyone. We have a whole lot to look forward to and we could not be happier for the people of Canada that they are able to see the end of marijuana prohibition. Checkout more great stories having to do with marijuana at TNMNews.com, here on our Facebook page, also our Instagram and Twitter accounts all @NationalMJNews. Also keep your eyes open for our new culture correspondents, Charlotte Olivia and Baylie Depp. They will be broadcasting every week on our YouTube Channel, here on Facebook and also our culture IGTV account @Culture.TNMNews. This is Todd Denkin with the National Marijuana News. Have a great weekend!