Weed is going legal everywhere you look. Well, not quite everywhere just yet, but the DEA and its ilk are already on their knees. Wherever you live, there’s a good chance marijuana will be legal someday soon.
You might be wondering where we get this confidence? Facts.
Consider the following:
Last year, the number of states that allow the cultivation, sale and possession of recreational pot doubled, from two to four. Voters in Colorado and Washington State initiated this group in 2012, while Alaska and Oregon joined in 2014.
What’s more, weed could soon be legal in the nation’s capital. That question remains very much up in the air, but it could be settled within the next year.
How did cannabis, a drug that has been with us since the dawn of civilization, get so damn popular?
Prohibition drove marijuana popularity
Consider it the inevitable end result of prohibition: When the government seeks to ban something, that something becomes infinitely more appealing to the public that is no longer allowed to use it. It’s like the stoner version of the Streisand Effect, but before the Internet age.
Had Congress not completely banned marijuana for in 1937, it’s highly unlikely that the drug would have the cachet it has today. There are other relatively safe drugs out there, including shrooms and LSD. But while they’re illegal, they were never the targets of a massive government effort to end their existence.
Only two drugs in American history have received that kind of treatment: booze and weed. And we all know what happened with the feds outlawed alcohol.
So it really isn’t any surprise that legalization has caught on so fast in recent years. The drug was already so popular – roughly half of Americans have tried it – that it was bound to pick up momentum at a rapid clip.
It’s hard to make a compelling case for the prohibition of anything that makes people happy, but the arguments for banning pot and booze were always especially weak.
At least the original Prohibitionists, the ones who outlawed hooch, had some evidence on their side. Alcohol has a notorious and well-documented history as an instigator of violence and depravity. And we’ve always known it can be bad for our health.
Even with that on their side, the Prohibitionists were bound to fail. The same thing is happening with marijuana, which is provably safer than booze.
Who will legalize next?
Bets are still open as to who will legalize next. Most observers consider California a likely candidate. It’s the largest state in the country, so a win there could turn the tide in other places, too.
Other states could legalize even before the 2016 presidential election, which is likely to include several legalization questions. Rhode Island or Maine could legalize by way of legislation within the next two years.
Expect more reform from Congress, too. Lawmakers passed a critical law late last year that blocks the DEA and other federal agencies from interfering with medical marijuana in states where it’s legal. They’re not likely to legalize the drug at the federal level anytime soon, but a statutory reclassification of marijuana could be within reach.
It will probably be many years before the fight over legal weed is ended, everywhere. But change is happening at a quickening pace, and stoners should expect even bigger things in the future.