Legal Cannabis in America
Coming to grips with what 2016 brought our great country could be pretty rough for some individuals in this country. Not the cannabis community, however. This year delivered some pretty brutal blows politically and otherwise, none more so than that to the frail-jaw of cannabis prohibition.
We as a country now can honestly say that we understand the benefits of cannabis. A total of eight states recently gave their constituents what they asked for, and that quite simply was cannabis reform. Four of them passed comprehensive medical cannabis laws: Florida, Montana, North Dakota and Arkansas. This is a great victory for the families and patients in those states, previously tasked and left with no option other than to deal in the black market or travel across state lines for their much needed medicine. In four other states, recreational cannabis became legal for adult use. Those states are California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine. Believe it or not, this brings the current number of cannabis-legal states up to a whopping thirty-two, plus the District of Columbia, better known as Washington, D.C. You read that right. Most of you may not know that medical cannabis has been permitted in America’s capitol since 2010! Almost three years later, D.C.’s initial access point opened its doors. The following year they decriminalized adult use, and possession under one ounce of dried flower. History made, right?
Not to diminish our major steps forward, but there is still monumental steps to be made on the fronts of legislation that protects people and their rights, access to cannabis both medically and otherwise, and legal protection in court. Many states and counties across the nation have cracked the heavy door of prohibition, if only slightly, with stringent and often impossible regulations surrounding their “accepting” cannabis laws, leaving no room for safe options for attaining or even consuming said products. We must remember as a cannabis community that every step forward is 100 times further than we were yesterday, and it feels gratifying. We have laws and regulations in place now to change or tailor to our needs of safe access and public consumption. This in stark contrast to any and all cannabis being subject to raids, seizures and worse, something akin to the old days.
Here in Washington state we have definitely been on the forefront of legalization efforts, having medical cannabis laws on the books since the late nineties, and recreational cannabis passing in 2012. We have been industry leaders for the better part of three decades now. In this time many waves of politicians, activists, patients, providers, growers, budtenders and volunteers alike have steadily paved the way for the entire country to follow a smoother path. This is what future generations will know of us and our pioneering and forward thinking actions. Molding this country's framework for public consumption, and providing medical access to safe and relevant products, is our charge to lead by example. The nation's eyes are on us to do this right, and with our knowledge and ability, implementing these procedures correctly is crucial. Yes, sure we have won the majority of the states over. Now let’s do this right.