Though not a breakout year in the fight for marijuana legalization, 2015 did move the needle in a more favorable direction nationwide. 23 states and Washington D.C. have now legalized marijuana in some way, shape or form.
2015 was a year well harnessed. It was a year of important groundwork. 2015 set the stage for legislative action in upcoming 2016, a presidential election year (i.e. a really big deal). Several states like New York and Florida passed state and county measures that help to decriminalize possession. Medical marijuana access barriers are being addressed more than ever before and the rally cry for access and research is gaining traction in the United States and abroad.
Say it isn’t so Ohio
But what about Ohio, you say? It’s true. Ohio went against the grain with 64% opposing the Issue 3 ballot measure that would have marijuana legalization for both medical and recreational consumption in one fell swoop. While Ohio’s attempt to go legal was a flop, we’re chalking that up to the way marijuana legalization was presented to Ohioans, which you can read more about here.
Some of the red tape surrounding marijuana legalization, it seems, is being cut or at least is more clearly identified. “The U.S. House also inched closer to fixing the banking and tax laws that are plaguing the canna-business industry,” noted Marijuana Policy Project’s Rob Kampia in his Huffington Post article, The Top 10 Marijuana Policy Victories of 2015.
2016 Presidential Race
All eyes are on Presidential hopefuls whose all-out support (Bernie Sanders), straight opposition (Rick Santorum), or commitment to look the other way (Hillary Clinton) will be determining factors in this year’s race to the White House.
While no one can say for certain what this year has in store for the fight for marijuana legalization, legislation like CARERS Act (H.R. 1538) and droves of Americans coming out green almost guarantees that 2016 Will Be Marijuana’s Big Year.
This is history in the making, folks. Which side will you be on when it all goes down?