The Shift From Medical to Recreational Marijuana

Presently, some 23 States have legalized marijuana for medical use. California led the way in 1996 with the Compassionate Use Act. The law, and subsequent laws, has made clear that participation in the ID card program is optional and individuals are under the Act’s protection simply by stating that they have an oral recommendation from a physician advising the use marijuana for health reasons. Is it any wonder why California is a pot smokers dream? The Wild West, anything goes, tangled mess of medical marijuana laws in California have turned off a lot of folks so the word is that full legalization of recreational use is only rated as possible. Considering how easy it is to use medically in that state it’s a small wonder that there is little movement for legalization.
cannabis-legal-status-mapIn 1998 Alaska, Oregon and Washington legalized Medical Marijuana. That was followed by full legalization in Alaska (2014), Oregon (2014) and Washington 2012.

Colorado allowed Medical Marijuana in November of 2000 and legalized recreational pot in 2012. Washington DC opened the door for Medical Marijuana in 2010 and recreational use in 2014.

The states of Maine, Montana, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Michigan, New Jersey, Arizona, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Illinois, and Minnesota have all legalized marijuana for medical purposes. And all these states have active marijuana lobbyists pushing for recreational acceptance.

This includes Nevada which passed Question 9 in 2000. It has taken until recently for the state to formulate the regulatory body to oversee the dispensaries that will deliver the products to the “patients.” But before the dispensaries were even open, the drive for recreational use was running hard.

Are you seeing a pattern here? The states are softened up with the “compassionate use” ploy and once the public has accepted the use of marijuana as a medicine, the next step is full legalization. This has worked in the above states or is pretty likely to pass in the next year or so. And that includes Nevada.

There are a few states in which this tactic has not worked so well. South Dakota legalized Medical Marijuana in 2010 and later voted down recreational pot. Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York all have Medical Marijuana but are resisting the notion of taking it any further.

The voters in Ohio went to the polls and rejected the idea of legal pot. And we can see that the fact that they never softened up the states attitude beforehand with the idea of medical use. They went for the gold right away and got turned down.

And just because a measure gets voted down once, don’t think for a minute that it will not be presented again. Arizona, California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Rhode Island and Vermont are all taking a run a legal pot on their ballots for 2016. (Note* Some of these states still need the required number of voter signatures for the measure to be placed on the ballot in the upcoming election).

And the compassionate use, “soften them up” ploy is not the only factor in play here.

More about that next time in “Thoughts on Pot”

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