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.