2012 was certainly an epic year for marijuana law reform, the biggest year for the legalization movement since its inception decades ago. It was a culmination of many years of hard work and of laying the groundwork for victory.
Great momentum has been achieved and must be capitalized on. Rob Kampia, the Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, recently authored an op-ed in The Huffington Post about what his organization plans to do in 2013.
“Unless people have been hiding under a rock this past couple months,” he writes of the past year, “they know that more than 55 percent of voters in Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana on November 6. As a result, many people have grand expectations of how we’re going to get closer to ending marijuana prohibition in the U.S. this year.”
There are several things Mr. Kampia thinks possible this year, including marijuana decriminalization in Vermont and medical marijuana in New Hampshire.
MPP also hopes to build support for three legalization initiatives slated for 2016, in California, Oregon and Maine. “There will be a sincere effort to pass Tax & Regulate bills through the legislatures in these three states. Should they fall short, MPP and its allies will pursue statewide ballot initiatives in November 2016, at which time all three will be expected to pass,” Rob Kampia writes.
And it is important to continue to build what brought about the recent victories in the first place, including the indispensable tool of the Internet. “People have said that the Internet is marijuana legalization’s best friend, and this could not have been more evident than it was last year,” Kampia says. “Campaigns mobilized their supporters, organizations raised funds, and the public was able to follow the progress in real time. Prohibitionists, who have depended on the government for its largess for years, are now at a disadvantage. Private citizens simply do not want to donate to them, and most information about marijuana is now reaching the public without being run through their filter.”
Incredible things are possible in the next year, especially at the state level. Major changes have to take place at the federal level to truly bring freedom to cannabis users nationwide, and those changes will likely take a major amount of turnover in elected officials in Congress and a new President.
But the dam has broken when it comes to marijuana legalization. The tide of cannabis law reform is inevitable because the truth cannot be contained forever, and the Internet ensures that information will flow freely and quickly, despite the best efforts of some governments worldwide.
But it is up to advocates everywhere to make sure the momentum continues.
– Joe Klare