Nov 02 2012
The seventy five year effort to reform antiquated cannabis laws in the United States is gathering momentum. A total of six state ballot propositions and five county initiatives are seeking to reform the legal status of marijuana.
The various ballot measures are considering marijuana in two different capacities. Three states: Colorado, Oregon, and Washington are considering legalizing and taxing small amounts of cannabis for recreational use among adults. In particular, the campaign in Colorado, Proposition 64, also calls for Marijuana to be regulated like alcohol. Three other states: Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Montana are voting on access to medical marijuana, which is similar to what is now law in California and in 16 other states.
In 1996 Californians passed Proposition 215 and became the first state in the nation to allow medicinal marijuana use. In 2010, California explored a push for legalization similar to what Colorado and other states are now considering. Prop 19 would have regulated, controlled, and taxed cannabis use among adults. Despite the well organized campaign the measure was rejected by 54% of voters.
The various state measures this year signal a potential nationwide shift on marijuana policy. Two of the three measures on legalization enjoy a comfortable lead in the polls: Colorado and Washington. In Massachusetts, medical cannabis use also leads in the poll. Eighty one percent of the public supports legalizing medical marijuana, while 50% of the public supports overall legalization.
Even if some states legalize marijuana to some extent, they will likely have to face the federal government’s laws banning marijuana use. During his 2008 campaign, President Obama promised not to use Federal Agencies to disrupt marijuana state laws. However, since then, the Department of Justice, the DEA, the IRS, and local law enforcement have led over 170 heavily armed SWAT-team raids across nine different states.
GUEST: Morgan Fox, Communications Manager with the Marijuana Policy Project
Visit www.mpp.org for more information.