With a New Year Comes Opportunities for Cannabis in 2012
by Theodore Hartman
As one year begins its close the New Year promises to be big for cannabis reform. For more reasons than one 2012 will deliver into the hands of voters ballot initiatives they can pass and begin to reverse the position of cannabis and hemp in America. Also the country can make an even bigger leap for the future of cannabis, and hemp by picking the right candidates in the upcoming elections. Bigger than that it seems is the hope of a Ron Paul win in this year’s presidential election. The most important thing about cannabis reform in the U.S. is that with people realizing the harm of failed policies and the potentials of cannabis for the economy that 2012 is a year that we will go into with people’s approval of cannabis as medicine as well as disapproval of the federal government’s handling of the cannabis issue. This momentum sparked by approval and a sense of urgency brought about by recent moves at the federal level create an atmosphere of the desperate need of a shift in cannabis policy to reflect American peoples attitudes towards it. Most people agree people should not be imprisoned for using cannabis, and voters will make huge moves to reform with this New Year.
In 2012 states like: Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Their legislatures have House, and Senate bills for medical cannabis use, to protect patients and caregivers and move towards more compassionate policies. In New Hampshire HB 442 Introduced by Evalyn Merrick (D) the purpose of the act is to protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, and their doctors from criminal prosecution. Language like that in This House bill and similar language in other House bill’s really show legislator’s beginning to worry about patients who may find relief with cannabis as an alternative that they are at some risk without some acknowledgment from the state, so moves such as this could move more states to put in place those protections for patients nationwide.
Also voters could do as much for reform by using they’re voices at the ballot box and passing some initiatives that once approved by voter’s not only would change state policy, but would set the stage for a very serious debate in America about states rights, and federal authority when it comes to cannabis. If voters in many states can pass some of the measures then people would need to question the federal government’s position if it will directly interfere with protections for patients approved by voters.
Some initiatives go even further than permitting medicinal use of cannabis, and are trying to allow for the use of cannabis recreationally by adults, as well that taxes can be collected to be used by the state. One such measure The Show Me Cannabis Regulation initiative in Missouri has received certification by the Secretary of state and they are gathering 150,000 signatures by May 6th to qualify for the November 2012 ballot. The measure would amend the constitution to do among other things remove cannabis from the states drug schedules and would also allow for the agricultural production of hemp and allow for the production of products made from hemp. The Legalize 2012: Colorado Constitutional amendment would re-legalize cannabis and hemp for all purposes, they also say it would bring in tax revenue as well they claim it will fix problems with amendment 20, which they claim has problems and that it would provide people in Colorado with better safer access to their medicine.
Also in California two measures the California Cannabis Hemp and Health Initiative 2012 has begun to take signatures and The Regulate Marijuana like Wine Initiative Are two possible ballot decisions. The Regulate Marijuana like Wine Initiative would repeal prohibition of marijuana for adults, and would strictly regulate marijuana as an industry. And the CCHHI would re legalize cannabis and hemp and is being called the Jack Herer initiative. It is positive to see two possible decisions that voters can choose if they are both on the ballot, but one seems much more restrictive and regulated and there is a distinct difference with the two measures, And It will be interesting to see if voters pass either pieces of legislation because as with the Prop 19 campaign in California which had a few people who didn’t support the measure, but supported cannabis legalization didn’t support Prop 19 because they thought it was flawed, and it didn’t pass so it will be interesting to see in 2012 if either of these initiatives will satisfy people from California into voting in some form of legalization, or regulation.
The most monumental move by far that can be made in 2012 for cannabis and hemp reform would be with the nomination and election of Congressman Ron Paul (R) Texas. Dr. Ron Paul has been on the campaign trail since the beginning for the Republican nomination for President. If Dr. Ron Paul can win the nomination and eventually the presidency his election could mean a drastic change in federal government posture towards cannabis, as Dr. Paul is both for medicinal cannabis and personal freedom and liberty, but he also understands that people should be free to choose how they want to treat themselves. Dr. Paul has recognized that alcohol is much more dangerous for people than cannabis, and has more drastic societal problems associated with its use. It’s my feeling that a Ron Paul election could mean the freedom to once again let our farmers make the most of the hemp crop for the production of goods as well perhaps the production of fuel. Also with Dr. Paul we would see an end to wasteful spending by the federal government waging a drug war that does more to benefit the people they are fighting against, and hurts more the people they are trying to protect. Ron Paul’s campaign has been growing steam, and has always courted a devotional group of supporters many of them young people who appreciate Dr. Paul’s message of freedom and liberty as well as his stance on the war, and his attitude towards cannabis.
With so much to look forward to in the coming year it is easy to become complacent. Be weary in 2012 of the government’s response to things like governors requesting rescheduling of cannabis, and states having problems trying to implement medical marijuana programs. Also the crackdown on California may heat up in 2012 if proper pressures aren’t put on the Administration and the Justice Department to cease their activities putting patients health at risk and really trying to make a move on medicinal cannabis nationwide. Much of the headway the cannabis movement has made could be challenged if the Federal government decides to loft its power and impose it on states.
Of course with a new year there will be many opportunities to change the landscape around cannabis and hemp in 2012 and it will be up to the People and the Voter’s to make that change happen.