Top

blog

Stories

 

Medical marijuana could be legalized in more than half of U.S. states by 2014, advocate says

Categories: Marijuana

medical marijuana doctor holding bottle with green cross cropped.JPG
Could the broader approval of medical marijuana lead to legalization of marijuana for recreational use? That's one theory put forward by cannabis activists like Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project. Fox believes more than half of U.S. states could legalize MMJ by 2014 -- and he says the success of the Colorado model is a big reason why.

MPP may be based in Washington, D.C., but it's very involved in marijuana issues here. For instance, it's one of the organizations backing the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012, which is aiming for next year's ballot. But MPP staffers are also closely watching medical marijuana-related initiatives likely to be considered by voters elsewhere in 2012.

"Just this year alone, there are something like twelve different states considering medical marijuana regulation," he notes. "One has already added it" -- Delaware, where legislation was passed in May -- "and there may be another by the end of the year. And we'll be working with people in three or four states next year, particularly in Ohio and North Dakota."

kurt gardinier mike meno morgan fox.png
Morgan Fox, right, with MPP's Kurt Gardinier and Mike Meno.
From there, the sky's the limit. As noted in this ProCon.org post, states with pending medical marijuana legislation as of May include Ohio plus Alabama, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. If medical marijuana is approved in each of them, they'd join sixteen states that have already legalized MMJ to form a de facto majority in the U.S. And Fox thinks it can happen.

"Politicians are notoriously behind the public on this issue," he maintains. "Medical marijuana already enjoys 70 percent support nationwide, and in some places, it's more like 80 percent."

These numbers have clearly gotten the attention of elected reps across the country, Fox believes: "After the failure or Prop. 19," the California recreational-use legalization proposal that fell short in 2010, "these states began looking at medical marijuana states, and they realized that they were able to institute these policies without the sky falling.."

Fox says Colorado is a case in point, due largely to legislation signed into law last year that set an industry structure in place a decade after voters approved Amendment 20, which legalized MMJ in Colorado.

"I think regulation is the hallmark of a really successful medical marijuana program," Fox stresses. "Without any sort of governing bodies or criteria to make sure patients and people in the industry are operating completely within state law, the system can become chaotic. But in Colorado, you have legislators willing to work with people, and cities are getting a lot of tax money and additional revenue from these establishments. That's why Colorado is really a shining example of what can happen when people aren't afraid to embrace this industry."

Could the momentum be slowed by Justice Department warnings about possible raids of large-scale medical marijuana operations? Fox concedes that "it could dissuade some of them -- but it really shouldn't. If you look at the track record of the Department of Justice under the Obama administration, there have been some raids, but for the most part, they've respected state laws, especially in states where there are clear regulations" -- like Colorado. "So I'd suggest states go ahead and set up regulations for their industry, which should protect patients and the industry, too."

He adds that going after the medical marijuana biz in a place like Colorado "would be an overkill move by the Department of Justice" that's very unlikely to happen, "especially in a year before an election."

Would the approval of medical marijuana by more than half of U.S. states create momentum for the rescheduling of cannabis on a federal level and perhaps decriminalization or legalization regarding recreational use? Possibly, Fox argues.

"Politicians understand a clear legal majority," he says. "And in the Senate, there would be majority representation of constituencies that have legal medical marijuana and supported it. And that would definitely be of assistance for getting laws passed on a federal level once it got to the Senate."

If something like that happens, Colorado's grand medical marijuana experiment could be a big reason why.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana critic William Breathes's sublime & ridiculous global media blitz (AUDIO, VIDEO)."


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
15 comments
CedrickD1
CedrickD1

I sure hope MMJ is legal everywhere!  Maybe more people will stay out of jail on stupid charges.

concernedparentandtaxpayer
concernedparentandtaxpayer

Jesussaid to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, so it’s time to say abig THANK YOU to Governor Christie for opening up this opportunity to thepeople of New Jersey. We can send Governor Christie an email at http://www.state.nj.us/governo...and show him our support for this decision! 

Robert
Robert

If MPP is trying to legalize marijuana, why did its second-in-command stand up before the Title Setting Review Board and object to their saying that MPP's "so that driving under the influence of marijuana shall remain illegal" initiative would do so?  Morgan Fox is paid to spew that crap about our incompetent, anti-cannabis legislature actually being terribly progressive pot reformers -- you'll see that same line slavishly echoed across the national media (i.e. to the extent that they cover cannabis in Colorado at all), it just happens to be an inversion of the reality that activists here have been living for the past three years.  It is hard to believe that MPP is capable of ending Prohibition when its efforts in Colorado have been so misdirected and its interpretation of events here so deliberately misleading.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Medical marijuana is the biggest road bump on the way to cannabis legalization.  For sure it will be many more years of medical, "my belly hurts" bullshit until everyone can smoke including the honest people who just want to smoke some pot!

Alphie Martinez
Alphie Martinez

Government should go after the Alcohol Industry. Alcohol kills & destroys families.

malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

Prohibition has decimated generations and criminalized millions for a behavior which is entwined in human existence, and for what other purpose than to uphold the defunct and corrupt thinking of a minority of misguided, self-righteous Neo-Puritans and degenerate demagogues who wish nothing but unadulterated destruction on the rest of us.

Based on the unalterable proviso that drug use among all echelons of society is essentially an unstoppable and ongoing human behavior which has been with us since the dawn of time, any serious reading on the subject of past attempts at any form of drug prohibition would point most normal thinking people in the direction of sensible regulation. 

By its very nature, prohibition cannot fail but create a vast increase in criminal activity, and rather than preventing society from descending into anarchy, it actually fosters an anarchic business model - the international Drug Trade. Any decisions concerning quality, quantity, distribution and availability are then left in the hands of unregulated, anonymous and ruthless drug dealers, who are interested only in the huge profits involved. Thus the allure of this reliable and lucrative industry, with it's enormous income potential that consistently outweighs the risks associated with the illegal operations that such a trade entails, will remain with us until we are collectively forced to admit the obvious. 

There is therefore an irrefutable connection between drug prohibition and the crime, corruption, disease and death it causes. Anybody 'halfway bright', and who's not psychologically challenged, should be capable of understanding that it is not simply the demand for drugs that creates the mayhem, it is our refusal to allow legal businesses to meet that demand. If you are not capable of understanding this connection then maybe you're using something far stronger than the rest of us. So put away your pipe, lock yourself away in a small room with some tinned soup and water, and try to crawl back into reality A.S.A.P. 

Because Drug cartels will always have an endless supply of ready cash for wages, bribery and equipment, no amount of tax money, police powers, weaponry, wishful thinking or pseudo-science will make our streets safe again. Only an end to prohibition can do that! How much longer are we willing to foolishly risk our own survival by continuing to ignore the obvious, historically confirmed solution?

If you support the Kool-Aid mass suicide cult of prohibition, and erroneously believe that you can win a war without logic and practical solutions, then prepare yourself for even more death, tortured corpses, corruption, terrorism, sickness, imprisonment, economic tribulation, unemployment and the complete loss of the rule of law.

The only thing prohibition successfully does is prohibit regulation & taxation while turning even our schools and prisons into black markets for drugs. Regulation would mean the opposite!

Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt.

MikeParent
MikeParent

@JillianAgreedThere is no valid reason to keep MJ illegal.  The original laws were based on racism, greed and lies.  The truth is documented, free for anyone to see but politicians are social eunuchs and won't do the right thing unless they'll perceive a benefit for them, politically.  Ironically, President Obama may well lose the 2012 election for targeting MJ after saying he would leave the issue to the states. 

Dems and Reps, different pages from the same bad book!Ron Paul 2012

jai daily
jai daily

medical marijuana growers have been growing in their area for years—it is important they recognize all of the rules and regulations that have been changed. www.1wallmart.com It’s even important for their patients to understanding what their providers should be doing to abide by the rules. If caregivers, dispensaries or patients fall to abide by the laws in place, it might mean fines or other prosecution set by the state government. www.cleansemart.com It is recommended that all patients and employees of medical marijuana businesses consult a medical marijuana attorney before they continue to use, grow or sell marijuana after the July 1st laws are set in place. It is vital to make sure their privacy rights as well as their amendment rights are kept even with the new laws being enforced. Those who become aware of their rights are less likely to fall into the trap of being prosecuted as a criminal. If one medical marijuana dispensary is caught providing the medical marijuana without a state issued license, anyone involved could be prosecuted. With the new medical marijuana laws comes the rise in situations in which medical marijuana employees are being asked to submit an unreasonable amount of personal and financial information. However, with this increase in giving of information, the state has not necessarily increased the number of licenses handed out. Therefore, employees are giving way too much information, only to work at an unlicensed business—in which they could potentially be caught and persecuted for failing to comply with the strict medical marijuana laws.

Jillian
Jillian

On June 17, 1971, President Nixon told Congress that "if we cannot destroy the drug menace in America, then it will surely destroy us." After forty years of trying to destroy "the drug menace in America" we still *haven't* been able to destroy it and it still *hasn't* destroyed us. Four decades is long enough to realize that on this important issue, President Nixon was wrong! All actions taken as a result of his invalid and paranoid assumptions (e.g. the federal marijuana prohibition) should be ended immediately!

It makes no sense for taxpayers to fund the federal marijuana prohibition when it *doesn't* prevent people from using marijuana and it *does* make criminals incredibly wealthy and incite the Mexican drug cartels to murder thousands of people every year.

We need legal adult marijuana sales in supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies for exactly the same reason that we need legal alcohol and tobacco sales - to keep unscrupulous black-market criminals out of our neighborhoods and away from our children. Marijuana must be made legal to sell to adults everywhere that alcohol and tobacco are sold.

"There's something extraordinarily perverse when we're so concerned about preventing addicts from having access to drugs that we destroy the lives of many times more people, either through untreated pain or other drug war damage".

Robert
Robert

Governor Christie has demonstrated his antipathy towards cannabis -- if political expediency compelled him to accept the Law, don't thank him, fight him until he leaves political life entirely!

Eyes on you
Eyes on you

Robert call me... we need to catch up on the game plan....

Tu Amigo,El Federala

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

marijuana prohibition has nothing to do with health of marijuana users

....and please don't bring up alcohol with marijuana, it's like comparing apples and oranges

Guest
Guest

do you like driving on roads? or do you like having a local fire department to save your house incase it burns down. how about those police officers that keep the poor people from taking your shit. if you said yes to any of these things don't vote for a libertarian

MikeParent
MikeParent

You know there are checks and balances.  Dr. Paul will be the adult in the room with the Progressives and Conservatives who blew the budget out of their Quid Pro Quo greed! 

AND what about the Rich people who are taking my STUFF?  The current batch of politicians from both sides of the aisle just gave them a pass on that.  The bankers make the "MOB" look like petty school yard thugs when it comes to stealing!  AND, who can afford the gas to drive down the road or heat their homes?

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...