The Road to Cannabis Legalization: Major Updates

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The single greatest obstacle to the adoption and implementation of cannabidiol as a major part of the American health profession’s bag of cures remains the American government. While researchers everywhere find every day new effects of and uses for the plant, governments all over the world persist in calling cannabis a dangerous drug without legitimate use.

That perception is changing, however slowly. 23 states now allow some form of medical cannabis use, and three–plus the District of Columbia–have actually legalized recreational use as well. But at the federal level, cannabis remains a Schedule I drug, making its cultivation, curing, shipping, and use illegal–and setting in stone the federal government’s official position, that marijuana is dangerous and without medical use of any kind.

Restrictive laws even on non-psychoactive cannabis compounds like CBD further stymie research and development. However, midway through 2015, Republicans in the House of Representatives proposed a bill that would make it far easier both to research and to market cannabidiol as a viable medical tool.

More recently–and maybe, more importantly–newly-elected Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government officially intended to legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana in Canada. This follows campaign promises from the Liberal Party to enact a comprehensive plan in regards to marijuana. The prior administration was known for harsh and backward policies, but Trudeau has a reputation for being cannabis-friendly.

Back in the U.S., lawmakers in New Jersey convened on November 16 to discuss cannabis legalization. Leading Democrats say that it’s time to bring the massive industry out of the dark and make it legitimate. While New Jersey governor Chris Christie remains publicly a staunch opponent of any step towards legalization, he may not be able to stem the tide: already, New Jersey has provisions in place for the sale of medical marijuana, but its laws are among the most restrictive in the country. These legal initiatives would help to change that.

Perhaps most unusual is the bizarre situation on November 3, 2015, when voters in Ohio rejected an unusual legalization bill that allowed a small group of investors to monopolize its cultivation and sale. While it can seem disheartening to see a measure that initially enjoyed such strong support fail, the reasons for the failure are telling. No longer is it true that voters are generally frightened of looser laws: what happened in Ohio had more to do with the monopolization than with legalization per se.

To get all the latest up-to-date legalization news, be sure to check regularly for updates.

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