2018 was a renowned year for marijuana reform in the United States, with the appropriate actions taken towards de-stigmatizing the plant, and the appropriate political conversations progressing new bills forward. Looking at a snapshot of how the year wrapped up, it’s truly been encouraging to the heaps of pro-reform enthusiasts. A massive “green wave” of Congress raises even more hopes that Americans may soon see marijuana legalization up ahead.
Ripple effects were made when Donald Trump fired Jeff Sessions, possibly one of America’s top marijuana law enforcers, who was a looming shadow over the Nations progression. However, there was another Sessions, that it was easy to overlook through the political noise. Many Republicans took a major loss when Pete Sessions, Texas congressman, lost to Colin Allred. It was this Pete Sessions, not Attorney General Sessions, who had singlehandedly been blocking and denying marijuana-related amendments. Overall it seems as though Cannabis reform is inevitable, as over 68% of the house, which represents 33 states, voted for at the very least medical marijuana, clarification of banking rules, and protection against Federal interference to legalized States.
The Farm Bill was passed which properly classified Hemp and the different properties of the plant. This was a massive win for enthusiasts but also an absolute necessity needed to separate stigma from fact, and to begin the education of the general public. A shift that needs to happen before further progress can be made on a public level. Only now do we see major retailers and grocers looking at the positive benefits of the pure hemp extract as a product and as a market opportunity.
Then came November, when a massive amount of candidates began to campaign on pro-marijuana platforms. It was then when we shockingly saw more voters in the US return to poles for these marijuana-related bills than they normally would for their favorite politicians. It seems that Marijuana reform had the United States in a chokehold and that nothing would seem to stand in its way. Michigan became the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana, but the number of states with such laws could double by year’s end.
2019 – An Even Bigger year of Cannabis Reform?
“This is the first Congress in history where, going into it, it seems that broad marijuana reforms are actually achievable,” said Tom Angell, an advocate-journalist who runs Marijuana Moment. Some of the bills being introduced in the States are of the extremely optimistic nature and would have never seen the light of day in the previous climate. Just to give you a picture of the brevity and breadth of some of the bills, there are members of Congress pressing forward a “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act,” which would de-schedule the drug and shift authority to alcohol and tobacco firms.
The massive discrepancy between the State and Federal level of Government sentiment cannot last much longer. Many hopeful remarks from just south of the border are predicting the end of Federal Marijuana prohibition within the year. If you are more of a realist, it wouldn’t be lofty to predict sometime in late 2020 we see a change of Federal perspective. Between Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi quarterbacking these issues, it is an ever-growing conversation. A conversation that neither the Democrats or the Republicans feel are dividing the two houses and wings, at least not in the way certain Medicare or other debates had in the past. Anyone who wants to win the public’s vote needs to be aware of the context that is currently driving the decisions bringing these regulations into effect.
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6 years experience in Capital Markets with a degree of Entrepreneurship and finance Ryerson University. You can find Alex on his free time, pursuing his multiple business endeavours, with his family, or playing music around the city. Feel free to follow him @alexxsimonelli
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