Year in Review: 2008 a Huge Year for Marijuana Reform

Since this is the season for year-end reviews, “best of” lists and the like, it seems like a good time  to take note of why 2008 was one of the most successful years ever for marijuana policy reform. 2008 saw major progress on legal reforms plus a raft of new data that validated reformers’ critiques of current marijuana laws. Some highlights:

     MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZED IN MASSACHUSETTS: A measure to replace criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana with a $100 fine similar to a traffic ticket passed with a whopping 65 percent majority in the Bay State.

     MICHIGAN BECOMES 13TH MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATE: The 63 percent majority racked up by Proposal 1 was the largest ever for a medical marijuana initiative and exceeded Barack Obama’s vote total in the state by six points.

     A NEW PRESIDENT PLEDGES TO END FEDERAL RAIDS IN MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATES: During the campaign, president-elect Barack Obama repeatedly promised to end federal attacks on individuals obeying state medical marijuana laws. Strikingly, of the 13 medical marijuana states (including Michigan), Obama carried 11 — including such traditionally red states as Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico.

     NEW RESEARCH VERIFIES MARIJUANA PAIN RELIEF: For the third time in less than two years, a published, peer-reviewed clinical trial demonstrated that marijuana safely and effectively relieves neuropathic pain, a notoriously hard to treat type of pain related to nerve damage, and often seen in illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. The new study, from the University of California, was published online by the Journal of Pain in mid-April.

     FEDERAL REPORTS DOCUMENT FAILURE OF CURRENT POLICIES: The Monitoring the Future survey, released Dec. 11, found that more 10th-graders now smoke marijuana than cigarettes, with teen marijuana use rising while teen use of cigarettes (which are legally regulated for adults) has dropped. The National Drug Threat Assessment, released Dec. 15, reported that despite record seizures, “marijuana availability is high throughout the United States.”

15 thoughts on “Year in Review: 2008 a Huge Year for Marijuana Reform”

  1. OBAMA WANTS TO keep pot illegal again GREAT isnt it?!!!! Great he wants to keep somthing illegal so I can arrested again and lose my job again and have my daughter cry again for something 10,000 toxicologicaly safer than alcohol and something that prevents and helps to cure disease isn’t that GREAT?!! I love the honesty. Good job Obama on talking bad about lobbyists when you give into it yourself to make some money shame on you. I have three words for you Obama , go to hell. I can promise all of you reading this I am filing a suspicious report based on the American Commission of Lobbying related to pharmaceutical industry and Barack Obama.

  2. i don’t think president elect obama is going to change much. though if he eliminates funding of the DEA in the areas of cannabis that would be a start. i believe he misrepresented himself on the issue.

  3. 2008 has been an astounding year for marijuana reform, now can anyone tell me when there will be some change in Missouri?

  4. I believe that the only way to resolve this is for every one that feels that weed is not harmful is to SPEAK OUT!!! Talk to everyone about legalization. They can’t arrest us all. I would be happy to be the first to do so. Change is rarly easy but is sometimes nessesary. I personaly have smoked weed almost daily for 30 years and have no health problems. No liver problems like alcohlics. no brain damage. no nothing!!! I do not like alcohol or other drugs. The arguement that I have heard from people is that weed is a gateway drug. solution: LEGALIZE IT… This will take it from the hands of drug dealers where you can find other harder drugs and put it in the hands of more responsible parties. If this country can justify tobacco being legal with all it’s known bad effects then WHY NOT WEED??? Let’s pick up the banner and wave it proudly! Why should anyone have to worry about losing their job or not getting a job for something that affects you for a few hours but is detectable for weeks? The drug testing companies are making a killing keeping us down for no good reason. STAND UP AND BE COUNTED!!! Now is the time!!! Let’s have a sit in on the White House lawn like they did in the 60’s. NOW IS THE TIME!!! Please feel free to contact me a my E-mail address with any ideas or comments. After all this is still America, isn’t it?

  5. Thanks to all of you who asked about reform in your state. To help make it happen, please reach out to your legislators to ask them to introduce or cosponsor marijuana policy reform legislation in your state. Use the drop own menu on the upper right of MPP’s home page to find out what’s going on in your state and for a link where you can write your legislators. You can also type in ” mpp.org/ ” followed by your state’s name.

    If you sign up for our state alerts at mpp.org/subscribe we’ll keep you posted about legislative progress in your state and let you know how you can help.

    Unfortunately, I can’t say for sure when change will happen in the specific states you asked about, but I do know that it can only happen if people speak out and effectively organize.

  6. I live in Oklahoma, it will be the last state to do anything, i promise. I’ve wrote to congress over 30 times but they just keep telling me sorry, they are against anything to do with marijuana. But i’ll keep writing till i’m arrested. I’m not a heavy user and i do not grow. I just think this should be more of a health issue then a police issue. And i will say, there doing a great job here in OKLAHOMA cause marijuana is hard to find. Been out for weeks. Don’t give up people, keep pushing the issue. Really thought Obama was our best choice for reform but now he’s pussing out on us, after he got our votes. i hope he’s just playing a good poker hand untill he takes office, guess we’ll see.

  7. Yep,
    I hope that Obama is really just playing a good poker hand because he did tell the American people that he will cut the DEA funding for Marijuana but now he is acting like he never said anything like that, well hopefully once he takes office he will change his stance and help decriminalize Marijuana.

  8. If Pres.Obama call off the D.E.A. then 100,s of thousand of $$ could flow back into the cityz/states Calya! you do need help! make wall board, paper, building I- beams. Build jobs not Prisons

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