Midterm Elections Elucidate Insight On The End Of Federal Cannabis Prohibition

By Nancy C. Zepeda

IG: @Missmmjgeek

November 7th, like a freshly ignited doobie there was undeniably something in the air. The piercing white trail of dense smoke casually saturated coffee shop conversations and was mutley narrated through subtitles on flickering T.V screens. Ah yes, it was the trending murmur respirating around town. Election season. Possibly the only season we have here in Los Angeles, California other than summer. There is overwhelmingly a great deal to talk about but let’s focus on how Tuesday’s turn out further corroborates the idea that the end of federal cannabis prohibition is within reach.

Several states continue to collectively take steps in the direction of legalizing cannabis for medical or adult recreational use. Let’s welcome Michigan in adopting Proposal 1 which legalizes the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana for adult recreational use–Michigan might ignite a trend as it becomes the first state in the midwest to join the Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, as well as Washington, DC in upgrading to the legal mile high club where Marijuana has been legalized for adult recreational and medical use.

Missouri approved Amendment 2 and Utah enacted Proposition 2 making it so that as of November 6th 2018 they joined the medical marijuana club and now travel alongside the 21 states that legalized marijuana for medical use only. Those states are Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Yay!

Okay let’s tally things up really quickly. 33 states have legalized marijuana for medical use. 10 of those 33 states have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use as well. Good Job United States of America in uniting towards a common ground. If we were to visually represent this progress through coloring in a map of the U.S.A., it’s not too far from completion!

Yet, it continues to hold true that under federal law the possession, use, and sale of cannabis is illegal. So let’s run in the direction to end federal prohibition of cannabis by continuing to color in those colorless states and keep the momentum snowballing.

Personally, the surprising upset was the rejection of Measure 3 by North Dakota, a state that as of 2016 approved Measure 5 legalizing medical marijuana use but, as of Tuesday fell short to legalize marijuana use recreationally. The reason why I was on the sidelines rooting for this extremely bold measure to pass was because if North Dakota became a recreationally legal state, it would have been the first fully legal state to set NO LIMIT on how much cannabis a person could cultivate or possess.

No limits? What plant counts? That would have been cool! What is cool though is the restlessness of states that have legalized marijuana to some degree and energetically continue to evolve instead of remaining stagnant. Ohio for instance, a state that partially legalized medical marijuana in 2016, took passionate steps towards protecting cannabis consumers as 5 out of 6 cities in Ohio (Dayton, Fremont, Norwood, Oregon and Windham) passed local measures to decriminalize marijuana. Garrettsville was the only city to reject the proposed local measure.

The ripple effect is in full swing and more states are willing to join the trending cannabis reform conversation. Wisconsin asked advisory questions on the ballot inquiring whether voters favor decriminalization and legalization policies. 16 counties and 1 city in Wisconsin voiced in unison and very clearly in support of cannabis reform.

From crawling through reforms in medical use, to walking towards adult recreational legalization, the U.S continues to pace towards making changes to how we are allowed to interact with this, once controversial, plant. Now, given a running head start by electing pro-legalization governors we can dash towards the finish line to end federal prohibition of cannabis soon!

A list of the newly elected governors who openly support cannabis legalization is as follows:
-Gavin Newsom (D), supports recreational cannabis
-Jared Polis (D), supports recreational cannabis

-Ned Lamont (D), supports recreational cannabis
-J.B. Pritzker (D), supports recreationial cannabis
-Laura Kelly (D), supports medical marijuana
-Janet Mills (D), supports recreational cannabis
-Gretchen Whitmer (D), supports recreational cannabis
-Tim Walz (D), supports recreational cannabis
-Steve Sisolak (D), supports recreational cannabis
New Mexico
-Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), supports recreational cannabis
New York
-Andrew Cuomo (D), supports recreational cannabis
-Kate Brown (D), supports recreational cannabis
-Tony Evers (D), supports medical marijuana and a statewide vote to determine recreational cannabis

Another indicator that the dawn of the end of federal cannabis prohibition is amongst us is the “Blueprint to Legalize Marijuana.” While you guys go and look into that I’m going to silently start the chant “No Limit/ No Limit/ No Limit” egging on those colorless states to consider cannabis reform.