Times are changing. Even those who do not really pay attention to the marijuana law reform movement or what is happening in the world of cannabis can see it. With the historic victories in Colorado and Washington last November and the fanfare surrounding the introduction of legalization and taxation bills on Capitol Hill, marijuana is in the news more than ever.
Longtime marijuana law reform champion Jared Polis – a Democratic Congressman from Colorado – has introduced legislation that would allow states to decide their own course when it comes to cannabis.
“This legislation doesn’t force any state to legalize marijuana, but Colorado and the 18 other jurisdictions that have chosen to allow marijuana for medical or recreational use deserve the certainty of knowing that federal agents won’t raid state-legal businesses,” says Polis. “Congress should simply allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit and stop wasting federal tax dollars on the failed drug war.”
The poll numbers behind legalization have never been greater either. 53% of respondents in a recent Reason-Rupe Poll want marijuana to be treated the same as alcohol. Some 68% said the feds should leave state-legal growers alone, while 64% say the same about state-legal sellers.
“It could produce thousands of jobs,” said Kentucky agricultural commissioner James Comer. “Industrial hemp is totally different than marijuana. It should be treated like corn or soybeans.”
“After long discussions with Senator Rand Paul and Commissioner James Comer on the economic benefits of industrialized hemp,” McConnell said, “I am convinced that allowing its production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy. Commissioner Comer has assured me that his office is committed to pursuing industrialized hemp production in a way that does not compromise Kentucky law enforcement’s marijuana eradication efforts or in any way promote illegal drug use. The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times that sounds like a good thing to me.”
These things were merely pipe dreams a few years ago, if you’ll excuse the pun. Now they are reality, bringing full, nationwide legalization ever closer. But it is up to advocates across the country to keep the momentum going. The worst thing we could do right now is stop and admire our victories.
- Joe Klare