Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Election 2016 Op-Ed: A Clear Victory For Cannabis

Welcome to the day after election 2016, which saw two of the most unfavorably viewed Presidential candidates in US history duke it out, while we all now know that the big winner of the day was….cannabis. As of this writing, it looks like eight states passed new cannabis laws yesterday, for either strictly medical use or recreational use for all adults.

The majority of people in eight states, at least on this issue, voted for freedom and compassion, as Americans continue to reject the prohibition that has ruined countless lives. Just one of these new laws, Proposition 64 in California, opens up a cannabis market that is larger than the 49 other states combined. We are talking billions of dollars, and those involved in the industry at this time are afforded the opportunity, and the responsibility, to shape its success, or failure, and its public perception, well into the foreseeable future.

I’ve been involved in cannabis policy since 2004, working at the Marijuana Policy Project until 2007, when my task was involving notable people, who were risking their reputation in those years, to speak out about ending the War on Marijuana, and its many devastating effects on society. I personally hope the passage of propositions and legislation continues to free this plant, one that has been uniquely and unfairly stigmatized, and brings us ever closer to de-scheduling on a federal level. This plant should not be on any dangerous drug schedule. It should be free to be studied for the array of benefits it offers on a medical level. The stereotypical stoner image will soon be banished once and for all as cannabis comes out of the shadows and rejoins the family of healing medicinal plants, where it should have remained all along.

America is ready!

Mainstream America is clearly ready for cannabis, it just said so at the ballot box. I look forward to all of the growers and companies who will be able to join an open and regulated market. We have the opportunity to build long term businesses full of integrity, and to shape the perception that generations to come will have of cannabis culture. The Fresh Toast and other companies now starting out have the exciting task of introducing cannabis to the as yet uninitiated and the curious, dispelling old myths and replacing them with facts and impressions born of a modern perspective.

Two decades from now, we will look back on these early days of open recreational use as quaint, once even a portion of the medical benefits of the cannabis plant become deeply understood. Hemp will be a booming market of its own, with numerous benefits to society – from food to fuel to fabric to plastics and beyond.

On this one very important issue, one that will keep millions of our citizens out of the criminal justice system, it is a bright day of amazing possibilities…now let’s get to work to make sure the enactment of these new laws, some with wide latitude given to local enforcement, really benefits us all.


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