All Eyes on the USA

By |Published On: November 7th, 2016|

As just about everyone on the planet knows, the citizens of the USA go to the polls on Tuesday to decide who will be the 45th President of their country. The run up to the elections have been bruising and decidedly unpleasant, reaching low levels of personal attack and dirt digging.

There are other elections taking place on the same day that have, at times, also been reduced personal attack and underhand tactics. No less than 9 more US states have ballots to either legalise for medical or outright legalisation. California is one such state, America’s most populous and for twenty years completely acclimatised to medical marijuana.

The Prop 64 initiative has been a tough fight with the strange sight of long time cannabis users and legalisation proponents actually trying to block the passage of the bill. The prison unions, the police, the rehabs and the peddlers of opiod based medications are all furiously lobbying to thwart the bill.
The grounds? it opens the door to big pharma and corporate interests to the detriment of the existing (monopolised) medical community who have run the show for the last 20 years.
Imagine being a cannabis user against no more arrests, no more busts and the exoneration of all those low level cannabis convicts languishing in federal jails across the state.

There is no such thing as a perfect piece of legislation but to stop ALL the arrests and release offenders from jail is an extremely good start.

It’s Utopian to think cannabis legalisation could be regulation free with no interference from government and big business. It’s the 21st century and legalisation will come with a whole bunch of compromises. Sin tax (as with tobacco and hops – both regulated plants), minimum age restriction (as with tobacco and hops), licensed producers (as with tobacco and hops) and registered outlets. It can’t and won’t be a free for all because that’s exactly what we have now. The legalisation argument always makes mention of regulation to thwart the black market and to get some control over supply to minors. We can’t have it both ways.

If all nine states on the ballot achieve legalisation for medical/recreation it will mean more than 50% of US states will have cannabis reform laws in place and as President Obama reflected last week on the Bill Maher show, the Federal policing of marijuana reform is going to be nigh on impossible. The American people have spoken. The Feds are backing off.

We may be nowhere near the same kind of freedoms here in South Africa just yet but subtle changes to the way the police are allowed to operate are already happening and as the ‘Trial Of The Plant’ nears, it will become more and more difficult for local legislators to argue that the sky will fall in with legalisation – because as we’ve seen with the three year old ‘social experiment‘ in Colorado – it doesn’t.

So as Americans go to the polls to have a say about their marijuana futures we watch with interest for the results. If you’d like a more in depth coverage of the various state legalisation initiatives, The Cannabist has a guide for you right here.

Exciting times.


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About the Author: Jules Stobbs

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