I have read a lot of articles pointing out the top marijuana news stories of 2014, with lots of reflections of the wins and losses from the last year. However, I haven't read an article predicting what will happen in the marijuana world in 2015. Below are some of the predictions Jay Smoker and I came up with, some more bold than others. Obviously, no one knows what the next year holds, but these are things I'm expecting to occur:
There will be more signatures gathered for marijuana initiatives than ever before. There have always been various forms of initiative efforts for marijuana reform in states that allow for initiatives, but a lot of them never get off the ground. That will change this year. There are few states that allow initiatives that don't have a good chance of getting on the ballot, or at least gathering enough signatures to make a significant statement. If you live in a state that allows initiatives, don't wait until the last minute to organize an effort. Hopefully you are already gathering signatures, but if not, start today!
I think that 2015 will see a state legalize marijuana via the Legislative process. All of the states (and DC) that have legalized marijuana so far have done so via a citizen initiative. I think that Nevada or a state in the Northeast will legalize marijuana in 2015 via the Legislature. I used to be hopeful that Oregon would be the first, but fortunately, we are out of the running because marijuana is legal in my home state now.
Which leads me into my next prediction - Alaska, Washington DC, and Oregon will all implement marijuana legalization, and yet, somehow the sky will stay in tact. There will not be an epidemic of youth consumption, there will not be havoc on public roadways, and we will not see a spike in harder drug use because of the 'gateway argument.' Implementation will be smooth, law enforcement resources will be saved and jobs will be created.
One thing that is virtually a guarantee for 2015 is that Kevin Sabet will still continue to spread marijuana propaganda every chance he gets. I'm hopeful that eventually he will be put out of business because marijuana prohibition will end nationwide, but I don't expect that to happen in 2015. So, in the meantime, Kevin will continue to get paid more for speaking about reefer madness for a two hour period than I do working an entire month in a cubicle. But that's fine, because history won't look back at me and laugh because I'm pursuing truth, logic, compassion, and justice - something that Kevin can't say.
I think that Oklahoma and Nebraska will lose their lawsuit against Colorado. If that doesn't occur in 2015, it's because the Court wouldn't even hear the case. As many activists have been saying, Colorado doesn't have a marijuana problem, Oklahoma and Nebraska have a marijuana prohibition problem.
I think that 2015 will see more corporate cannabis. Dollars from the corporate world are going to continue to flood the industry. Some people will do it the right way and team up with long time activists and experienced marijuana experts. But many will think that their corporate teams can do it better, will dump out huge sums of money without getting a a significant return on their investment, and will be left scratching their heads wondering how their 'genius team' couldn't profit from America's next great industry. It's something that I've seen more times than I could count, yet corporate types still try to argue with me. Dolts!
There will be more support in 2015 from mainstream media and politicians than ever before. For so many decades supporting marijuana was considered to be political suicide, and mainstream media outlets did everything they could to keep marijuana prohibition in place. We saw that start to erode in 2012, and even more in 2013 and 2014. Politicians and media outlets will continue to pile on in 2015, acting like they were supporters of reform for a long time, and reap the benefits of those decisions to switch teams. Oh well, whatever gets them there I guess.
I will wrap up with a somewhat bold prediction. It may prove to be too bold, but I'm going to throw it out there anyways because I think the time is ripe for it to occur. Florida will legalize medical marijuana via the Florida Legislature. 58% of Florida voters voted for medical marijuana during the last election, and that's too significant of a majority to ignore. The Florida Legislature will be lobbied harder than ever before, probably from both sides, but I think that compassion will prevail. I just hope that it's not too restrictive of a program, because all patients deserve safe access to a form of medicine that is safer than pharmaceuticals.