As the political dust begins to settle after an election that transcended the US to be one of the craziest parts of an already crazy year (Brexit, anyone?), we can stand back and take a look at the positives to come out of all this, which are some shiny new US Cannabis Laws in 8 states.
Alongside (although also somewhat overshadowed by) the US Presidential election, there were ballots for cannabis laws to change (either medically or recreatinally) in 9 states. 8 of the 9 bills passed, making Tuesday an extraordinary day for cannabis reform.
Volteface reports that: “Ballot initiatives regulating either medical or recreational use of cannabis were on the ballot in 9 states, and in 8 of them the initiative passed, meaning that Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota have joined the ranks of medical cannabis states, whilst Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and – most importantly – California, will now implement full legalisation in the near future. In addition, Montana voted to loosen restrictions on existing medical cannabis laws.”
This means that US Citizens who have legal – and recreational access to cannabis now number just under 70 million people, more than live in the entire UK:
Also the number of states with some form of cannabis access – be it medicinal or recreational – is now over half, making US Cannabis Laws very progressive in these areas:
What does this mean?
Due to California legalising recreational cannabis with Prop 64, an extra 33 million US Citizens make this a tipping point for cannabis reform in the US. Add to that the other 7 states relaxing cannabis laws, whether medically or recreationally, and you have a recipe that is simply unpoliceable as a federal level.
Some are worried about Trump’s stance on cannabis now he will be the next President once Obama leaves office in January, but he has come out and said that he views marijuana as something that should be discussed state-level.
Whether this will see him attempt to change federal US cannabis laws from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2, or whether he even would be able to should he wish, remains to be seen.
— BBC Newsbeat (@BBCNewsbeat) November 8, 2016
Ok, enough US politics. What does this mean for us in the UK?
Over on our side of the pond, we should expect Theresa May and our Government to be keeping a close eye on the US. If, as I’m sure will happen, legal cannabis for all these millions of extra US citizens further improves the US economy to the scale you’d expect, then maybe, just maybe, our economic powers that be will be more supportive of cannabis regulation.
If, as I’m sure will happen, legal cannabis for all these millions of extra US citizens further improves the US economy, then I’d hope that our own economic powers that be would be keen to explore a valuable new revenue stream for the UK.
With the pound falling against the dollar we are severely weakened on the world stage, and I believe that a thriving new cannabis industry could see the UK economy restored even post-Brexit.
Also, there are now a lot of places in the world you can legally smoke your weed. If this worldwide momentum continues it puts additional pressure on the UK to adopt smarter cannabis laws.
Only time will tell – but I think we can say that the future looks bright (for cannabis, at least).