Cannabis Legalization Happening Nationwide?


As the states of Washington and Colorado recently legalized Cannabis, it appears that it might possibly be gradually happening nationwide. More than half of the states, including a few in the south that might be considered among the more conservative ones in the country, are now thoroughly examining the possibility of legalization, either for a strictly medical or potentially even recreational use. The battle over whether Cannabis should be as accessible as alcohol has thus gotten some propelling momentum.

As it has reportedly been demonstrated that cannabis is no longer solely a recreational drug, but also of value to the health sector, the two states that perhaps appear to be most likely to follow Washington and Colorado in a full legalization are Alaska, a stronghold of libertarian Republicans and Oregon, where liberal Democrats are the dominant voice of authority.

Spokesmen of a slightly more flexible approach to the restriction of cannabis laws have announced that they intend to make use of the momentum from achieved success, inspired by the statewide and national polls demonstrating greater acceptance from the public to proceed with cannabis legalization. On top of that, President Obama’s recent contemplation on the discriminatory effect of prosecutions in cannabis related cases, as well as his Treasury Department’s release of guidelines put forth to give leeway to the banks conducting business interactions with legal cannabis companies, appears to further fuel their cause.

That being said, their opponents, for whom this is also considered a fundamental year, are just as persistent in their efforts to slow down the process of legalization. They seem empowered by a wait-and-see attitude shared by many legislators and governors, who appear to be reluctant to proceed too quickly, without a clear outcome having been demonstrated by the legal cannabis ventures of Washington and Colorado.

Kevin A. Sabet, executive director of Smart Approaches for Marijuana, is reported to have stated that they believe that if Alaska and Oregon could be stopped, it would derail the entire argument that these groups have, that legalization of Cannabis is inevitable. Sabet, who’s among the leading figures in the effort to end these initiatives, further added that the pro-cannabis momentum can be stopped, seemingly before a nationwide legalization happens.

Despite the fact that Cannabis is still a prohibited drug under federal law, the Obama administration has announced that it will avoid all interference with the states’ initiatives to pursue legalization of cannabis for a vast amount of reasons, including the state’s ability to successfully restrict minors’ access to the drug.

Several states have already initiated a pursuit to legalize the drug, while others seem more reluctant as they patiently await the outcome in the states of Washington and Colorado. Opponents of the advancements of legal cannabis are gradually mobilizing all across the country in their efforts to reverse the process, carefully observing Colorado for any potential problems that might fuel their argument. Sabet further states that he considers it a possible blessing that legalization became a reality in a few states, assured that it will turn to fuel his cause. Though it might seem as a fragile topic to be pampering with during election year, in the eyes of some politicians, it still appears that there might be a will among the majority for legalization of cannabis to happen nationwide.

By Halldor Fannar Sigurgeirsson

The Washington Post
NY Times