I would say that this has been a crazy week in marijuana reform in the United States, but it seems to me that a week full of new marijuana news is becoming more of a normal (or NORML) occurrence. Marijuana reform is moving at lightning speed in the United States. The American way of life is changing daily and we are in the midst of a huge cultural shift. What an exciting time to be alive!
In the past two weeks, we have seen some incredible progress in American marijuana policy. First, on June 23, 2011, Barack Obama announced that his administration would be reducing restrictions on the study of the medicinal benefits of marijuana. Before this announcement, if a laboratory wanted to research the medicinal benefits of marijuana, but that laboratory’s research was not being funded by the federal government, that laboratory had to seek approval from the Public Health Service through a review process. As you can imagine, permission was not given liberally.
And in case you were unaware of this little factoid, the United States government owns one of the only patents on cannabis and even states in its patent that marijuana has medicinal value. Yet, according to federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I drug that allegedly has no medicinal value. But this does not prevent the government from keeping a huge marijuana depository in Mississippi.
Next, Miami-Dade county decriminalized possession of less than “20 grams or less of marijuana, enough for about three dozen joints,” according to the Miami Herald. This story, however, is a little more amusing than your average marijuana news. Instead of calling it “decriminalization,” they enacted a law that gives discretion to police officers about whether she/he wants to simply issue a $100 civil citation or charge a person with a criminal misdemeanor. Sneaky, sneaky. I like it.
Third, Minnesota’s medicinal program went into effect today. Although it is restricted to non-smokable uses only and is only available for a few ailments, it’s progress. Finally, the governor of Louisiana and presidential candidate Bobby Jindal signed a limited medicinal marijuana bill. Repeat after me, it’s progress.
I have been so inspired by the flood of news on this topic that I made a handy map to show you where in the United States marijuana is: (1) Legal (indicated by leaves); (2) available/legalized for medicinal purposes of some sort; and (3) states that have enacted decriminalization laws state-wide. The star at the bottom of Florida is a special shout out to my second home, Miami. If you want to learn more about each state specifically, click here.
There are only 11 states left in the U.S. without some form of marijuana reform. This is a sign of what is coming. The internet and unlimited access to real information is what powers this movement. And as long as more information continues to roll in, people opposing reform will find themselves incredibly outnumbered. Never do yourself the disservice of not learning the facts. Rather, embrace the human spirit and the insatiable drive for clarity of purpose and knowledge.
“In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying so get in motion and grow.”
― Lou Holtz