With that time of year approaching, we humbly offer a few New Year's resolutions for some of the individuals and institutions sure to be affecting all of our lives in 2009:
President-elect Barack Obama: To move quickly to keep your campaign promise to end the DEA's medical marijuana raids. And to appoint a drug czar who treats science as a guide for policy, not something to be spun in the service of ideology.
The news media: To treat announcements from the drug czar's office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other government drug war agencies with the same skepticism that normally greets other political statements -- and to seek out the perspectives of drug policy critics and reformers without us having to throw ourselves at you.
Massachusetts state and local officials: To move swiftly to implement the marijuana decriminalization law passed by voters in November, and to stop claiming that somehow it's harder to not arrest people and fine them $100 than it is to arrest them, fine them a higher amount, and possibly jail them.
The Drug Enforcement Administration: To stop stalling and approve Prof. Lyle Craker's application for a facility at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to grow and test different strains of marijuana for medical purposes.
The California Narcotics Officers Association: To finally stop fighting Prop. 215 a dozen years after its enactment, and to drop your absurd policy statement claiming, "There is no justification for using marijuana as a medicine."
Politicians of all stripes and their consultants: To recognize that the "just say no" era is over, that voters are ready to consider reasonable reforms of marijuana laws, and that medical marijuana in particular is so overwhelmingly popular that there is literally no downside to supporting it.
Okay, that's a start. Readers, feel free to chip in with your own proposed New Year's resolutions.