The 2015 State of the Union speech is in the history books, and television news shows and social media are all over it with reviews and opinions. I think I'm with most marijuana fans in that I'm disappointed that there was no mention of marijuana at all. I wasn't expecting there to be a lot of marijuana references in the President's speech, but I was expecting at least one mention.
There was a lot of other principles and quotes that resonated with me though, and I have included some of them below in bold, with my thoughts below them. If you watched the State of the Union speech, what did you think? I look forward to reading your responses below:
"That's what middle-class economics is - the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. We don't just want everyone to share in America's success - we want everyone to contribute to our success."
Banking for the marijuana industry and 280e were two things that instantly popped in my head. There are a number of states that allow for a legal marijuana industry, but the White House has done little to none to help them, and has tried to stunt the industry in numerous ways. Entrepreneurs in the 'Cannabis Space' deserve a fair shot because they do their fair share and deserve to play by the same set of rules as other legal, respected industries.
"So no one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the future."
A recent estimate has the marijuana industry adding upwards of 200,000 jobs in 2015. Not a game changer, but not exactly a drop in the bucket either. And that number is only going to grow as the industry expands with reform victories...
"When what you're doing doesn't work for fifty years, it's time to try something new."
This was by far the most significant quote to me from the speech, and I guarantee activists' heads almost exploded across the country. Um, how long have we been enforcing cannabis prohibition? And how's that been working out?
"As Americans, we have a profound commitment to justice."
As can be seen on our sidebar, Jeff Mizanskey is serving life in prison for non-violent marijuana offenses. How is that justice? African Americans are almost four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana even though consumption rates between races is close to the same. How is that justice? I could go on and on.
If Barack Obama truly believed in the words he spoke above, he would give a solid effort towards meaningful cannabis reform at the federal level during his last two years in office. In a perfect world he would get it passed, but I realize there are political constraints since his party is not in the majority in Congress now. However, a solid effort is all I'm asking for. Rescheduling, and/or banking reform, and/or 280e reform, and/or 'fill in the blank that is long term reform.'
The realist in me knows that Obama will likely drag his feet and count the days til his Presidency ends. But the optimist in me will always hope that we see the President try something bold during his last two years. Public opinion would be on his side, which last time I checked, was a significant thing in politics.