Federal cannabis legalization will take place. It is no longer about the “if”, but rather the “when”. Recently the House of Representatives passed the Marihuana Opportunity and Expungement Act (MORE), which takes cannabis one step closer to federal decriminalization (more on this here). While the MORE bill is unlikely to get past the Senate without a “blue wave” in the runoff elections in Georgia, the passage of the MORE bill by parliament signals a major shift in perceptions and attitudes towards the legalization of cannabis.
Even if the MORE law is not passed immediately, something else will eventually happen. Popular opinion is clearly in favor and, eventually, politicians will listen to their voters. Recently it was reported that 68% of Americans are in favor of legalizing cannabis. Almost all US states have legalized or decriminalized cannabis in one form or another, and all statewide cannabis campaigns were successful in the recent election.
Despite the clear fact that the people of the US want cannabis to be legal and that people are no longer jailed for cannabis use, it may come as a surprise that there are still groups actively working on the old one Prohibition to maintain status quo (I won’t name specific groups here, but every reader knows some).
With cannabis legalization so popular, the persistence of prohibition groups begs the question: what are they really hoping to achieve? Do you think states are really just going back on entire regulated industries and closing down newly minted agencies that were set up solely to support industries? Do they really support the income cut for hundreds of thousands of workers in the industry? (It has been reported that more than a quarter of a million people in the United States are employed in the state-legal cannabis industry.) Do they care that people are still incarcerated, lost, and civil liberties violated? ?
It seems like such groups would be better off if they focused their resources on advocating for things like better youth education, access to treatment for people who need or want them, or similar things that do not result in criminal penalties . But simply advocating a return to the prohibition will not go far. Prohibitionist groups need to know that they will lose this fight.