Marijuana is everywhere, in the news, these days:
With a majority of Americans now in favor marijuana legalization, President Barack Obama is now saying weed is no more dangerous to individuals’ health than alcohol. (Huffington Post — Obama: Marijuana No More Dangerous Than Alcohol)
This is a blazing moment for American stoners. Colorado has just legalized the commercial production, sale, and recreational use of marijuana, while Washington State will begin its own pot liberalization initiative at the end of February. On Jan. 8, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would join 20 others and the District of Columbia in allowing the drug for medical purposes. (Business Week - Legal Weed’s Strange Economics in Colorado)
To be sure, ending prohibition won’t singularly eliminate the underground market or end racism in law enforcement. But it is a constructive step toward those goals, especially considering the aforementioned White House ad correctly acknowledging that marijuana isn’t egregiously dangerous. Sure, the government’s “safest thing in the world” line may have been an overstatement – but it was certainly closer to the truth than all the fear-mongering about our decision to embrace reefer sanity here in Colorado. (Salon – Reefer sanity takes hold in Colorado)
New York is one of the only states in the Northeast without a medical marijuana program. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was opposed to medical marijuana, and attempts to create a law have failed to get through the state Senate for years. Now Cuomo has reversed himself, proposing a medical marijuana research program run under exacting federal guidelines that would be the most restrictive in the country.(NPR – New York’s Medical Marijuana Experiment Begins With Caution)
News articles will continue on the topic as more states legalize medical & recreational marijuana, Illinois Dept of Health released draft medical marijuana rules yesterday. What about here in Missouri?
Thirteen initiative petitions related to the legalization of marijuana and hemp products were approved for circulation by Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander Wednesday, clearing the way for voters to decide on the issue during the November 2014 election.
For marijuana legalization to make the ballot, petitioners have to get enough signatures to account for eight percent of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor’s election from six of the state’s eight congressional districts. (KSDK)
The advocacy group Show-Me Cannabis submitted the petitions for approval but hasn’t yet determined if they’ll work to collect the needed signatures:
But before we launch a full campaign, however, we must assess whether likely 2014 voters will pass any of these measures at the ballot box in November. For that reason, we are hiring a firm to conduct scientific polling on the official ballot language approved by the Secretary of State. Polling is most accurate when respondents are presented with the specific question as it would appear on the ballot, so that is why we could not conduct this polling earlier.
We hope to receive results of the poll by the beginning of February, and if around 60 percent of likely 2014 voters surveyed say they will vote for our measure, we will very likely pursue a campaign this year. 60 percent is considered to be a very safe benchmark because even if support decreases somewhat by Election Day, which is common with initiatives, it will still pass. I am optimistic that the polling will show strong support, but that hunch needs to be tested scientifically. (Show-Me Cannabis)
The weekly polls here are not scientific, but since the same poll last April support of full legalization jumped from 53% to 63%!
From these results it appears increased full legalization support comes from the legalize medical/decriminalize recreational camp. It’ll be interesting to see the scientific polling of likely Missouri voters. Other states will likely have medical or full legalization on their November ballots.
Why am I so interested? Several reasons: prohibition on marijuana doesn’t make sense from a law enforcement, policy, health, or economic perspective. With the latter — the “green rush” is creating new opportunities, employing people, etc. For full disclosure: about 14% of my portfolio is comprised of marijuana-related stocks: (CANV, CBIS, FSPM, GRNH).
– Steve Patterson