This has certainly been an interesting week on many levels. No matter which side of the political fence you sit on it’s been a wild ride. The big winner this week though (besides the BIG race), at least in our opinion is cannabis. There were hundreds of statewide initiatives on the ballots across the country this week. They all won. Every. Single. One. Maybe that last sentence should have an exclamation point after it. But there is something far greater going on here. 5 states had medical and/or adult use cannabis initiatives. They all won. All of them.
The Stigma is Going Away?
Cannabis or marijuana (your choice of word) has had a stigma that the racist U.S. government started in the early 1900s. The lies about cannabis back then resulted in the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act in 1937. That act essentially outlawed marijuana. It culminated in the War on Drugs in the 70s and 80s that made cannabis a drug with no redeeming qualities at all. Cannabis was stigmatized all that time for non-scientific and racist reasons. It has became a horrible mess.
All these initiatives that passed are showing us something; The stigma is starting to go away. It will take time, but I think the stigma is now on the down slope and picking up momentum as it moves along. What is still frightening is how politicians (on both sides) are so out of touch with their constituents. Very few politicians are willing to speak up about Schedule 1, even though over half the states have medical programs. The government has been perpetrating a lie for over a century. That lie is beginning to be understood. The real problem with that is that when a lie by the government is found out, what does the population feel about things where the government might be right.
As for the initiatives that failed, all were at the state or community level and those communities voters were frequently fed pap that had nothing to do with reality. In Michigan there were 10 community initiatives that were on various ballots. Of the ten, three passed. So the stigma still exists.
In Montana, there was as much misinformation as there was real information. One noted Montanan individual ranted that crime would go up, children would smoke and various other falsehoods that were patently untrue. Maybe some Americans are waking up to the idea that marijuana might be OK and the billions that now flow into the untaxed black market could be converted into some tax dollars that the states could currently use. It will take a while, but eventually cannabis will look the same as the alcoholic beverage industry with no stigma and solid tax dollars going to the various governments.
A Small Conclusion
We still look through the lens of cannabis prohibition and that’s going to be hard to swap that lens out for one that just sees marijuana as another drug with benefits and some downsides. The downsides are minimal and the benefits have the potential to have enormous benefit to our society.
Here’s an article that has access to all the initiatives, statewide, local and municipal all over the country. It’s from Ballotpedia: 2020 marijuana legalization and marijuana-related ballot measures