According to Keith Stroup, founder of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law), 2016 should be a watershed year for the legalization of Marijuana. It is “high time” too. The research is in — Marijuana is safer for humans to indulge in than WATER (barring some form of allergy) as it has caused no recorded deaths. It is also a cancer cell destroyer, a seizure controller and an all around pain-dulling powerhouse due to the endocannabinoid receptors that are built into our brains.
Legislation may finally catch up with science.
The question in front of voters is no longer “legal” or “illegal”, as the real possibility that legalization could finally actually happen brought out many competing models in many different states. From the “Tomato Model” of no more government restriction than the bright red fruit to models that mimic state control of Alcohol or Cigarettes.
Ohio has the issue on the ballot this year, an “odd year” which historically is not good for such initiatives. Whether it succeeds or not will let us know if efforts should be concentrated on “even” years or can succeed on “odd” ones as well.
In 2016, a presidential-election year, with a much greater chance of success, we can expect initiatives to qualify for the ballot in these states:
Arizona, California, Maine. Massachusetts, Michigan and Nevada should all qualify for the Ballot no problem.
Missouri seems less certain to qualify but just may make it. The initiatives announced in Wyoming (since withdrawn), Montana and Mississippi, may be premature politically and do not look like they will succeed. It is up to the youth to come out and vote against baseless stereotypes, and all of us also, if these measures are to succeed.
One problem in many states is competing bills, mostly bills that favor differing levels of governmental control and may split the vote which could possibly cause them to fail at the polls: Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Michigan. How the competing bills will play out remains to be seen, but it could hurt the movement to nit-pick and fight over minutia. Getting it started is the important thing, momentum will keep it going.
As Keith said it best, states are participating in “Laboratories of Democracy”:
Marijuana legalization is a nation-wide movement (more accurately world-wide), with each succeeding state building on the experience of those states that came earlier, and, because of differing regional attitudes about marijuana and marijuana smoking, no two state legalization systems will be the same.
Over time we will see what works best, and what does not, and we can arrive at a national marijuana policy that accommodates regional cultural differences, and that works for smokers and non-smokers alike.
Legalization of Marijuana is on its way, whether the old-guard likes it or not — as long as we don’t just sit back and watch — leaving us with bigger questions, like what to do with all those stems!
Here is an awesome (and nerdtastic!) video on the Endocannabinoid System:
Featured image: zombiekillingstoners.com