While the nation sat glued to its television sets waiting to see the conclusion of one of the most bizarre elections in our nation’s history, activists for the reform of marijuana laws rejoiced as eight of the nine states which had marijuana reform initiatives on their ballot passed some form of marijuana reform.
Voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada approved recreational marijuana initiatives and Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas approved medical marijuana initiatives. Voters in Montana rolled back restrictions on its existing medical marijuana law, reestablishing a medical marijuana system which had been stripped down in recent years. In a close vote, Maine declared victory for its marijuana legalization measure.
All in all, it was a monumental night for the marijuana law reform movement.
It was a night which illuminated the decades of effort marijuana law reform activists have put into the fight to allow adults the right to consume marijuana legally. It was a victory for civil rights and truly echoed the voice of the American public. It was a night which could be the tipping point for marijuana law reform nationwide.
But, just as when Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana in 2012, the fight is far from over when it comes to marijuana law reform.
In fact, the battle has just begun.
As activists for marijuana reform, we must stay vigilant and keep the fight going. For there are still many in our nation who are still shackled by the out-dated, racist policies of prohibition. We can not win the war when many of our fellow, like-minded Americans still live under the oppression of drug policies which do more harm than the drugs themselves. We can not pat ourselves on the back when half of America’s population is still not free from the detrimental consequences of marijuana prohibition.
It is a time to celebrate, but we can not rejoice so much that we forget about the countless warriors who are still fighting to change our nation’s drug policies.
We can not stop the fight until all of our citizens have broken the chains of a Drug War which has cost our society so much since it was first implemented.
So, today we celebrate, sing out in joyous victory and allow ourselves to revel in the overpowering sensation of what it feels like to make a change.
Tomorrow we hunker back down and keep fighting the good fight until we are all free from the grotesque clutches of marijuana prohibition.
It is our duty as activists, it is our duty as Americans.