2015 was a big, bag year for progress in cannabis law. Alaska, Washington D.C., and Oregon all went full legal while more states than you can shake a bong at either introduced or expanded their medical marijuana programs. But 2016 is gonna be even bigger. Not just on the state level, but federally speaking too, everything in weed law could be different by this time year.
It could be the “most significant year yet in the battle to repeal marijuana prohibition in the United States,” according to Marijuana Policy Project co-founder Rob Kampia. In a Huffington Post article, the cannabis policy expert outlined his predictions for the next year in cannabis legislation. Here are some of the most crucial upcoming events that could shape the future of weed.
- White House is expected to continue its efforts to shield Native American reservations cultivating cannabis from the DEA.
- Obama administration will also likely renew the policy created in 2015 which gave back full veteran benefits to vets who partook of legal state medical marijuana programs.
- Obama is also expected to keep federal agencies out of state-legal medical marijuana operations. Congress will likely also prohibit the Department of Justice from getting involved in state-legal businesses by eliminating the funding for such interference in 2017 spending bills.
- California, Nevada, Maine, Arizona, and Massachusetts all have a good chance of voting on cannabis legalization come next November. Kampia offers the prediction that “at least four of these five measures will pass if we raise a sufficient amount of money for TV, radio, and web advertising this fall.”
- Medical marijuana has a good chance of spreading across the states next election as well. While states like Florida and Missouri show popular support for such programs, the chances of winning out in states like Ohio or Arkansas (where MMJ is likely to appear on the ballot) are a little dicier.
- The popular vote isn’t the only way to legalize marijuana. The same thing can be accomplished through state legislation approved by state Congress. In Pennsylvania and Vermont, where the Senate, House, and Governor all show support for recreational marijuana, the idea is not so far-fetched. The same thing is also possible to a lesser degree in Rhode Island.
- Decriminalization could easily come to both Illinois and New Hampshire.
What’s really going to happen is anybody’s guess, but progress is likely. Let’s just make a New Year’s resolution to do our best and only dab the good stuff.