The year 2014 is almost over, and I have been seeing many lists of 'top moments' in the marijuana world from the past year. While I was at work this week I reviewed other people's lists and and pondered what I thought the top moments were in 2014. Below is a list of what I came up with. The list is not in any particular order. If there is a moment you thought I missed, or something you disagree with, feel free to post your comments in the section below the article:
Legalization Continues To Spread
2014 saw Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. legalize marijuana and join Colorado and Washington. That's not bad for a mid-election year where conservative initiatives and candidates made a strong showing throughout the United States. Now that four states and Washington D.C. have voted to legalize marijuana, the momentum is greater than ever to see marijuana prohibition ended nationwide.
Florida Voters Strongly Support Medical Marijuana
Yes, Florida did not legalize medical marijuana in 2014. However, the initiative received roughly 58% of the vote, which sends a clear message that medical marijuana legalization is virtually inevitable in Florida. The strong support for medical marijuana in Florida is undeniable, and the Florida Legislature will have to either pass a true medical marijuana bill next year on its own, or see supporters organize for a 2016 effort without the Florida Legislature's input and have to live with the result.
The federal spending bill that recently passed and was signed by President Obama was very significant to the marijuana reform world. On one hand, it de-funded medical marijuana raids by the feds. On the other hand, it attacked the will of the D.C. voters by including potentially harmful language aimed at derailing D.C. marijuana legalization implementation. The spending bill also de-funded anti-hemp enforcement. The spending bill was good in some ways and bad in others, but it's significance is undeniable either way you look at it.
Feds Allow Native Americans To Legalize Marijuana Cultivation And Sales
The United States government officially stated that if Native American tribes want to legalize marijuana cultivation and sales on tribal land, they will not stand in the way. While no Native American tribe has taken advantage of the policy change at this point, it's still tremendously significant because parts of America that thought marijuana legalization was out of reach are now in play.
Legal Recreational Marijuana Sales Begin
Colorado started making legal recreational marijuana sales in January of 2014, and Washington started in July. There is still a lot of implementation to be done, and kinks to be worked out, but the fact that a person can walk into a store in two states and buy marijuana for recreational purposes is amazing. Tax revenues are being generated, jobs are being created, and local economies are being boosted, all of which are great things.
Major Media Outlets Get On The Right Side Of History
Mainstream media has a long track record of supporting reefer madness and spreading anti-marijuana propaganda. However, 2014 saw a significant change with many mainstream media outlets coming out in support of legalization. The largest of those was the New York Times.
Obama Admits That Marijuana Is Not Worse Than Alcohol
President Obama throws around a lot of statements when it comes to marijuana policy. But one of the most significant came at the beginning of 2014 when he admitted in an interview with The New Yorker that marijuana is not worse than alcohol. It of course would be nice to see him bring public policy in line with that statement, but that has yet to happen. His words are still significant however, because many of his predecessors would never admit to such a fact.
Philadelphia And New York City Decriminalize Marijuana
Philadelphia and New York decriminalized marijuana this year, which is significant not only because they are huge cities, but also because they have had so many issues with racially disproportionate marijuana enforcement. It doesn't fix the problem all the way, but it's a good first step. No one should be locked up for simple marijuana possession - it's an obvious waste of resources.
Grandmas Getting High On Video
I will end this list with the now famous three grandmas that got high for the first time, on video, and released the video to the world. It went viral almost instantly, and while it was meant for entertainment, it proved to initiative some very serious conversations, especially among older people. I know after my grandma watched the video, she had a lot of legit questions for me that I was very happy to answer and discuss. Below is the video for those that haven't seen it yet, or, for those of us that can't get enough of it: