As 2018 winds down and many of us are distracted with the craziness of the holidays, it’s easy to start looking ahead to 2019. The success of the last 6 years in the cannabis law reform movement and the momentum we enjoy needs to be built on and extended.
And there will be plenty of opportunities for activists to help bring marijuana law reform to their state. “There will be medical marijuana, legalization, expungement, and decriminalization efforts in legislatures across the country [in 2019],” Matt Schweich, Deputy Director at The Marijuana Policy Project, told The Marijuana Times. “At the same time, advocates will launch a significant number of marijuana reform ballot initiative campaigns. There may be as many as ten marijuana ballot initiatives in 2020 and all of those campaigns will start in 2019.
“On the legislative front, we may see two of the largest states in the country, Illinois and New York, enact laws that legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana. These would be major wins for our movement. Until now only one state, Vermont, has legalized legislatively and their law did not include regulated sales. We are still waiting for the first state to adopt a complete legalization law that allows for regulated sales, and I expect that to occur in 2019.”
That’s a lot of fronts cannabis activists will be fighting on, stretching thin the already-dwindling forces of prohibition. Add on top of all of this some possible major movements on the federal level and the next two years could one day be seen as the last gasps of cannabis prohibition in the United States.
As for MPP themselves, the next 2 years will, of course, be a busy time. “We will be focused on legislative efforts in Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, and South Carolina,” Matt said. “MPP will also be involved in establishing medical marijuana and legalization ballot initiative campaigns. We’ve already helped form a medical marijuana campaign in Nebraska, and we are working on a number of other states including Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.”
While still dangerous, prohibition forces are becoming increasingly worn down. Popular opinion is now firmly against them and more and more lawmakers see little reason to keep fighting this war. There is not much to be gained politically from standing up and saying you’re against marijuana legalization, even in more conservative states.
And what could possibly change that trend, a trend that becomes more pronounced every year? As long as the massive army of activists that has grown up with this issue stays focused on enacting and improving legalization laws, there is little that can stop us.
But now is not the time to let up; now is the time to end cannabis prohibition in the U.S., a monstrosity that never should have been enacted in the first place.
I noticed you mentioned helping North Dakota. I am a resident and ND passed an MMJ initiative in 2016. I am in the final process of filing my Application, as my Dr. has approved my membership into the States program. It should, finally, have usable cannabis available for patients in January of 2019. I am more than ready to initiate a transition to medical cannabis, after have being been prescribed OxyContin for the last 15 years! I am a Permanently Disabled Veteran and have a Service-related Disability rating with the V.A. and when turning to them with help a few years ago, they wouldn’t prescribe me the Oxy I had been on for years, much less discuss the option of medical cannabis, even though it had been put into law here!
I just thought I’d let you know. I have been your reading articles here for a while, as well as self-educating myself on the truth about cannabis’ efface concerning my medical condition. What was viewed as such an Evil herb for a Century in the U.S., has led me to believe that our Gov’t is the Evil one! Prohibition was mandated in 1937 as a protection for upcoming Big Pharma & Big Pulp Paper companies. I recently heard President Trump say that he was in favor of States protection, for those that legalized it, from the Feds and also said he doesn’t view cannabis as a harmful product and is leaning on the side of signing an order to END it’s Federal prohibition. Great news!
What about Kansas??? You never mention our state!