A Resounding Victory
No, Im not talking about the Presidential election, you can make up your own mind about that. What cannot be argued is that yesterday, voters went to the polls all over America, and they resoundingly voted YES on Cannabis. Last night, Cannabis went 8 for 9 with regards to cannabis law reform, in what many organizations, including LEAP have referred to as a resounding victory.
California Votes Yes on 64
Prop 64 was a highly contested piece of legislation amongst cannabis advocates. While there is certainly some disagreement upon the best way to move forward with a legalization initiative, what we have is a system where fewer people are going to jail for possessing cannabis in California, and that is a victory regardless of how you look at it.
With its carefully crafted provisions for helping to heal the damage caused by the war on marijuana to poor communities and people of color, Prop 64 represents the new gold standard for how to legalize marijuana responsibly, said Lynne Lyman, California state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. This not only protects youth from accessing marijuana products, it also protects them from being harmed by the criminal justice system. Young people can no longer be arrested for marijuana offenses, which data consistently show us is a primary gateway to the criminal justice system. And with hundreds of thousands of residents eligible to have their records cleared, Prop 64 is a major victory for Californians who care about justice.
Arkansas Passes Initiative 6
Initiative 6, a medical cannabis bill which passed with over 53% of the vote. The measure legalizes the medical possession and use of cannabis, including a system of dispensaries.
Under the approved law, those who receive a recommendation will be authorized to use and possess medical cannabis so long as they register with the state. The measure establishes a system of licensed and regulated dispensaries and cultivation centers.
Florida passes Amendment 2
In the most resounding victory of the night, our neighbor to the south passed a medical cannabis amendment with a stunning 71% yes vote. This initiative allows for the use of cannabis with recommendation from a physician and regulates the growth and dispensation of cannabis in Florida.
Better late than never, said Ethan Nadelmann from the Drug Policy Alliance. Most states outside the South already have legal medical marijuana, but the overwhelming victory today in Florida is likely to accelerate the momentum for reform throughout the region.
The victory this time around proves that you cant keep a good cause down. In fact, Id wager that more than half of all Floridians now support legalizing marijuana for all adults. Its just a matter of time before thats ripe for a new ballot initiative.
What does this mean for Georgia?
Yesterday was a landmark day for cannabis legalization nationwide. With Florida, the scales were tipped. More states now have access to medical cannabis than not, and outright legalization has made great strides as well.
The passage of Amendment 2 in FL and Initiative 6 in Arkansas prove that attempts to move cannabis legalization in Georgia have not been strong enough, and that we all need to be working together to get much better access and stronger protections in 2017. Georgians need to begin pushing their legislators for a ballot initiative, and we need a cannabis initiative at least on par with Floridas amendment 2, if not better.
Now is the time.