My latest piece on the Huffington Post provides a summary of what MPP has in store for 2013. In particular, it lays out our general plans to change marijuana laws in states around the country and at the federal level, and it describes how we plan to continue building public support for future reform efforts.
Unless people have been hiding under a rock this past couple months, they know that more than 55 percent of voters in Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana on November 6. As a result, many people have grand expectations of how we’re going to get closer to ending marijuana prohibition in the U.S. this year.
Here is what I think we can reasonably accomplish by the end of 2013…
This past year was undeniably the most productive 365-day period in the history of the marijuana policy reform movement. There were a number of significant accomplishments, but here is the Marijuana Policy Project’s list of the “Top 10 Marijuana Victories of 2012.” As with our previous annual lists, it includes neither important scientific developments nor important international developments. Rather, this list focuses on the biggest marijuana-related policy accomplishments in the U.S. in the last year.
After the marijuana-policy-reform movement’s huge victories in Colorado and Washington on November 6, many people are asking, “What states will be next to enact measures to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol?” (We refer to these as “T&R” bills or initiatives.)
It is important to note that this pair of 55 percent victories would have been less resounding had they appeared on the ballot during a midterm election. Presidential elections traditionally attract far more voters, many of whom are younger and more supportive of T&R than older voters. And when there are more voters, there tends to be more support shown for ending marijuana prohibition.
With that in mind, here is what the Marijuana Policy Project will be pursuing from 2013 to 2016:
I attended a progressive event with MPP’s Morgan Fox in D.C. last Tuesday, where Congressmen John Conyers (D-MI) and Barney Frank (D-MA) both spoke.
Unsolicited — in front of the 60 or 70 activists and opinion leaders in attendance — Rep. Conyers made an off-handed criticism of the drug war, which was nice to hear.
And Rep. Frank spent most of his time at the microphone talking about the marriage-equality victories on November 6 in four states, saying a few times that the gay-rights community “must press our advantage.”
In other words, if the political momentum is on your side, you should use that momentum.
After their remarks, I chatted with Rep. Frank one-on-one. (This would surely be the last time I speak to him before he retires from the U.S. House in January.) After congratulating me on our wins in Colorado and Washington on November 6, he said to me, “We must press our advantage.”
In fact, that’s what we’re going to do with a new slate of ballot initiatives for November 2016, as well as congressional legislation to allow states to determine their own marijuana policies without federal interference.
I want to thank Congressmen Barney Frank and Ron Paul (R-TX) for their service in the U.S. House; both men are retiring on the same day, as it turns out. They’ve made a wonderful contribution to the marijuana-policy-reform movement through their legislative leadership over the last three decades.
In the wake of our victory in Colorado — where 54.8 percent of the voters passed Amendment 64, a constitutional amendment to regulate marijuana like alcohol — good people are understandably clamoring to pass similar measures in their states.
Here is a listing of the ingredients of the recipe that led to the historic victory in Colorado on November 6.
1. Presidential Election: Given that no one had ever previously legalized marijuana in the history of the world, we assumed that the election in Colorado would be close — win or lose. So we intentionally chose to place our initiative on the ballot during a presidential election, which always attracts a larger proportion of young voters, who are more supportive. …