What To Expect From 2018 In Marijuana Policy
Well, 2017 was a big year for pot, wasn’t it? As far as we can see, we still seem to be observing the ever-expanding snowball that is the marijuana movement. Despite the fact that legal cannabis faces its challenges and obstacles, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. On the contrary, it looks like some big topics are up for conversation in 2018. Marijuana policy has been under reform for the better part of twenty years in the USA, and we are about to confront some of the biggest policy changes of all.
No one can say exactly what’s going to happen, and Donald Trump’s statements on the matter haven’t exactly been consistent. So while the marijuana movement is definitely still moving, there’s no doubt that we’ll all be dropping our jaws with surprise by the end of 2018. But we can say with much certainty that activists are getting super active this year to see the enforcement of some epic reform to marijuana policy.
Yes, federal legalization is important to cannabis law. But let’s reel it back a little bit. Marijuana has been legal in some states for years now, yet there are many US citizens who are still paying for their cannabis related crime. Just about every job application requires a person to answer the infamous question – have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense? For those who have to tick yes, they know how hard it is to get a job. Having a marijuana conviction under your belt can make it hard to get a rental property, a credit card, a loan from the bank.
Americans now recognize that as a nation, we unnecessarily screwed up the lives of many by convicting and imprisoning for marijuana-related offenses. Now, it’s great that we’re on the way towards changing that, but how about those who are already paying the price? I expect that the “more legal” marijuana becomes in the USA, the more amnesty must and will be addressed by state governments. There is no more real need for someone who was convicted of marijuana five years ago to continue being rejected from the system.
Legalize it… Federally!
Oh, the myriad of issues that would be addressed virtually instantly if the government would remove marijuana from the category of Class 1 drug. According to the American federal government, marijuana has no medicinal value whatsoever, just like cocaine or heroin. This comes despite how much we know about the medical potential of cannabis – that shouldn’t even be an argument anymore.
One of the biggest issues with the current federal marijuana policy is the restriction it places on doing proper cannabis research. This is exactly the kind of thing that would trump the current federal opinion about marijuana’s medical legitimacy. It is so hard for researchers to get a license to study marijuana, and moreover, the federal government is just about the single proprietor of cannabis grown and used for research purposes. Everything smells so fishy here! Federal marijuana policy stands in the way of necessary scientific understanding of what this plant is about – on more than a he said/she said basis.
If we’re talking about the difference a federal marijuana program could make, we could also talk about insurance. Why is something that is sold as a medical product in over half the American states still not covered by medical insurance? I daresay that many Americans will be lobbying for a green-friendly insurance policy to emerge this year, although somehow I expect a federal reform would need to take place first. Insurance companies don’t like getting into business that the federal government doesn’t like.
The opening up of federal policy would really change a lot of things about how we experience cannabis on the everyday level. Even the banking industry would open up more to cannabusinesses and dispensaries. The same way this topic has been an issue from day one, it will remain an issue until the federal government finally decides to drop its defenses and jump on board with the people.
The end of failed drug tests
Despite the fact that states continue to legalize, there seems to be a huge neglect towards how this affects the average employee. A lot of American employers require their employees to be drug tested by law. We’re not talking about people who show up to work flying. We’re talking about the average Joe who smokes a joint or two at night time or on the weekends but shows up positive on his piss test. Even if his marijuana is medically prescribed, he risks losing his job over that kind of behavior.
At the moment there is no real protection against discrimination for marijuana users in the workplace in states where medical or recreational (or both) marijuana is legal. This is an important step forward for marijuana policy and reform. If we want to acknowledge something as legal even for recreational purposes, we need to take it off the agenda as being taboo. Employers do not alcohol test their workers to see if they got drunk on the weekend. It’s more than just social acceptance – this is a practical issue.
Could this year be the end of failed drug tests for those who like to smoke some herb? I wouldn’t be surprised if some states started enforcing some kind of legal protection.
The states up for legalization in 2018
The states hold a lot of power in this state/federal marijuana war. It’s because apparently, they seem to do whatever they like. Unfortunately, Obama isn’t around anymore to withhold federal intervention on state laws and cannabis businesses. But the arrival of Donald Trump also hasn’t made any states pull the plug on their marijuana program. So we’ll keep rolling with what’s anticipated for change on a state level…
California recreationally legalized on the first day of 2018, kicking the year off on a good note. This cannabis economy is expected to be the biggest one in the USA. California has a general economy bigger than some countries, and the tax revenue from cannabis is in the billions.
We can expect legalization in Vermont and New Hampshire, where things seem to be moving forward swimmingly.
Well… change – we have become accustomed to it as a country. It almost looks as though we’re starting to embrace it. The marijuana industry has been one of the biggest catalysts for change in the USA, and there’s no reason why it cannot continue to be this way.