A new year means a new outlook, and that’s what marijuana is seeing this year. Back in the November 2012 elections, we all witnessed an amazing shift – US citizens’ opinions on marijuana have moved from utter negation to a blurred line of acceptance. With Colorado and Washington’s approval on recreational weed, it comes as no surprise that positive trends are upon us.
A Move Away from the War on Drugs
1. Feds crack down less (sort of) – In December 2012, Obama broke his silence on marijuana legalization during an interview with Barbara Walters. Since the approval of regulating cannabis in Colorado and Washington, his administration has been focusing on developing a policy to handle it. Meanwhile, he points out, recreational users in those states are not his top priority as “[they’ve] got bigger fish to fry.”
2. More states, more movement – There are 18 states that have legalized medical marijuana, and that number is growing. Just in this past month, government officials in seven states have brought attention to the medicinal herb and its issue of access and legalization. This alone sheds light on a positive movement towards justice, especially for something much needed by so many patients.
The People Are Speaking
3. A time of pot and failure – The ability of under-aged users to easily access marijuana is worrying parents and drug czars. A program to re-educate ‘potheads’ in camps is being presented in Denver, but more than a few members of society have already spoken: The War on Drugs is failing. Not only has it not relieved America of the problems it faces, it has increased them (as any war does). Droves of people are being incarcerated unfairly and Quentin Tarantino has even compared the drug war to slavery.
4. And now, Pop Culture! Featuring Mary Jane and Friends – Drugs in films is not a new thing, but drug exploration “as a path to salvation” is certainly a trend this year. The 2013 Sundance Film Festival featured quite a handful of these kinds of films, putting a spotlight on how the public approaches drugs in this new age. If new media can open our eyes to a new way of thinking, change can certainly be counted upon.
Innovation and Other Things
5. Revealing a higher purpose – With a more positive outlook on marijuana in the past year, innovation of purpose, as well as consumption, continues to thrive. Research on cannabidiols and cancer have surfaced in California, while a secret marijuana farm in Israel has been discovering the medicinal properties of marijuana for years, looking to reveal the plant’s higher purpose for everyone. Medical Marijuana Inc. added CBD-based chewing gum to their portfolio of cannabidiol-based products and will be expected to hit shelves early this year.
6. Growing acceptance and contesting controversy – The passing of initiatives in Colorado and Washington put everyone into a muddle of happiness and confusion. On the one hand, weed was finally accessible to everyone. On the other, finding the right balance between consumption and regulation was at the forefront. Colorado pot clubs popped up in the new year to help cope with this issue. A couple weeks later, it was announced that the longest-running pot contest High Times Cannabis Cup, usually held in Amsterdam, will be coming to Denver on April 20. The US has seen its share of Medical Cannabis Cups in legal states, but this contest is a first in the leaf’s movement up the US acceptance ladder.
Nowhere But (Hopefully) Up
2012 set a strong foundation for marijuana with its ballot approvals and movement towards acceptance. Now is the time for us all (government and citizens) to educate, understand, and collaborate with each other in order to build upon this foundation.