The Midterm elections in the U.S. marked yet another significant step forward for legal marijuana across the globe, advancing a trend we identified three years ago: Money Reefer Madness.
We had forecast that both recreational and medical marijuana would become increasingly accepted by the global community.
Why? Simple. The same reason they ended prohibition in the United States back in 1933. It wasn’t as though all of a sudden the Women’s Temperance Movement that was against drinking booze lost its temperance. It was a loss of tax revenue! The more booze sold the more money states made.
Same true for marijuana. It wasn’t as though the politicians who passed laws that locked up tens of millions of pot smokers and gave them life sentences in jail for getting busted three times no longer considered it a dangerous “gateway drug” that would lead to heroin addiction. It was tax revenue! Like alcohol, the more marijuana sold the more money states made.
And, it’s worldwide.
In October, Canada became the latest country to legalize recreational marijuana, joining Uruguay and the Netherlands where recreational pot is legal. Marijuana is already legal for medical use in Australia, Puerto Rico, Poland, Czech Republic, Croatia and Macedonia. And in Turkey, citizens are allowed to grow marijuana for personal medical use.
Further, while in most countries cannabis is still illegal, a significant number will not prosecute for personal use. For example, in Jamaica, Columbia and Chile, cannabis is not legal but decriminalized in most forms.
And recently, Mexico’s incoming government submitted a bill to allow medical marijuana and recreational use. The bill would also permit companies to grow and sell marijuana, allow possession of up to 30 grams, and cultivation for private use. Smoking pot in public places would also be permitted.
MIDTERM GAINS MEANINGFUL
In the U.S. midterm elections, legal marijuana scored multiple wins, showing once again that resistance is weakening and even hardcore opponents can’t make the anti-pot, reefer madness argument stick anymore.
Michigan voted to become the tenth state to legalize recreational marijuana, and the first Midwestern state to do so. Illinois Governor-Elect J.B. Pritzker made legalization a key component of his victorious campaign.
Western and northeastern states have led the way on legalizing marijuana, but the victory in Michigan powerfully demonstrates the national reach of this movement,” said Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
Identifying where the trend is leading, Sanchez-Moreno said, “With such overwhelming public support for marijuana legalization, even including majorities of Republicans and older Americans, there’s only so long that the federal government can continue to hold out.”
The possibilities to legalize recreational marijuana increased in New York on Election Day, as Democrats, who have expressed support for legalization, took control of the state Senate, now the dominant party in both state Houses and the governor’s mansion.
And voters in Utah and Missouri voted to legalize medical marijuana.
And, according to a recent Gallup survey, two out of three Americans (66 percent) now support the legalization of marijuana, including a majority of Republicans (53 percent) and, for the first time, a majority of voters over the age of 55 (59 percent). Support is strongest among Democrats (75 percent) and young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 (78 percent).
THIS “SESSION” IS OVER
Significantly, the midterms brought another victory to legal weed: powerful, anti-pot Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas lost his seat. He was the head of the House Rules Committee, where he was able to block any vote on marijuana legislation. A Democrat will now head that important committee.
And Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a celebrated anti-pot voice who once said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” was forced to resign the day after the Midterms by President Trump.
Speaking to law enforcement officers in March, Sessions alarmed pro-cannabis advocates when he said:
“I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful… Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”
Thus, pro-cannabis industry analysts feared the Trump Administration would move to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws.
However, we predicted a different future. In our Winter 2017 Trends Journal, one of our Top Trends was “Reefer Money Madness. We had forecast that “…Trump will not squander resources waging a Marijuana War.”
And, while President Trump has stated that legal recreational use was “bad,” and he felt “strongly about it,” he also said: “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state by state.” TJ
The trend is global. The momentum is strongly in favor of marijuana legalization.
Besides not locking up people and ruining their lives for getting high on what is clearly not proven to be a “gateway drug,” the many health benefits of marijuana are now being recognized both scientifically and by those who believe if the planet can feed us, it can heal us.
Among the generally affirmed medical uses at this early stage are the ability to help ease the opioid epidemic, treat seizures and neurological disorders, control nausea in cancer patients, pain control for arthritis and other conditions.