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2013’s Biggest Cannabis Law Reform Victories (So Far)


2013 marijuana victoriesNearly halfway through 2013 and it’s already been an incredible, unprecedented year for cannabis law reform. Things are moving at an incredibly fast pace all across the globe, and there’s not even the slightest indication that it’ll slow down until cannabis prohibition is put to an effective end.

Here’s a list, in no particular order, of some of the biggest and most impactful victories so far this year.

  • Colorado now has a regulated and taxed recreational cannabis market.

In 2012, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, making legal cannabis a constitutional right. In addition to legalizing the possession and private cultivation of cannabis, the amendment legalized recreational retail outlets, with regulations handled by the state’s legislature.

In 2013, these regulations – from a governor-appointed task force to the governor’s recent signing of multiple cannabis regulation bills - have been ironed out in a surprisingly effective manner. Work is still left to be done, but enough of a framework has been established that cannabis retail outlets can open, operate and supply cannabis to the masses by next spring.

Even better, the regulations aren’t terrible. Not everything is ideal, but nothing incredibly strict was implemented, cannabis tourism is authorized, residents can grow up to 6 tax-free plants, penalties for minors were reduced to be analogous to a minor in possession of alcohol, etc..

Washington isn’t far behind, and they’re currently formulating their own regulations, but Colorado is clearly the example state that will lead the way for future reform. Everyone’s watching.

  • 2013 has been one of, if not the best, year ever in terms of positive cannabis research.

A plethora of cannabis-related scientific research has been released this year, with the majority of the studies being the most comprehensive ever released on the connection between cannabis and that particular condition.

For example; a group from Neuroscience Research Australiahas conducted promising early research indicating that cannabis may reverse the symptoms of dementia, multiple studies have been released – including one published in theAmerican Journal of Medicine - which have found that cannabis may combat diabetes, and numerous other studieshave found that cannabis may reverse or effectively combat the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Crohn’s disease, bladder cancer, HIV and brain damage.

  • Legislative and political victories continue to mount.

This year alone, the state legislature for four states – Colorado, California, Vermont and Kentucky – have approved measures legalizing hemp cultivation. In Colorado, licensed hemp production could begin as soon as this year, as their law has been signed by the governor and isn’t contingent on a change in federal law.

Just weeks ago in Rhode Island, the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis became no longer a criminal offense thanks to recently approved legislation.

In Vermont, a measure was recently signed by the governor decriminalizing small amounts of cannabis.

In New York, their full Assembly has recently approved a measure decriminalizing the public display of cannabis. The Assembly also approved a measure legalizing medical cannabis, a measure that’s expected to pass the Senate, according to the bill’s prime sponsor.

In Nevada, the state’s governor has just signed a bill legalizing medical cannabis dispensaries throughout the state.

In Illinois, the state’s legislature has approved a medical cannabis legalization measure – it currently sits on the governor’s desk for consideration. The same is true for New Hampshire.

Although the law is far from perfect, Maryland became the 19th medical marijuana state by passing legislation to allow certain academic centers to distribute cannabis to qualified patients.

In France, a decree has just been approved which legalizes cannabis medicines such as teas, sprays and capsules.

In Israel, the number of doctors authorized to prescribe medical cannabis has more than doubled.

In the Czech Republic, it’s now legal for pharmacies to distribute medical cannabis to qualified patients.

Etc., etc.!

  • Politicians are beginning to take hemp and cannabis legalization seriously.

In April, Oregon’s House Judiciary Committee became one of the only legislative state committees in U.S. history to approve of the legalization of marijuana - they did so on a 6 to 3 vote: the measure would allow for the possession of up to 24 ounces and 6 plants, and would legalize state-licensed retail outlets. The proposal hasn’t moved forward since its vote in April, but it’s still alive, and advocates have filed legalization initiatives aimed at the 2014 ballot to push lawmakers to act.

Lawmakers in numerous other states – including Maine, New York and Ohio – have been working to pass legalization legislation as well. Multiple elected officials - such as California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom - have come out in favor of legalization, urging other politicians to do the same.

On top of this, the two most legislatively powerful Republicans in the U.S. – Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and House Majority Leader John Boehner – are now working towards hemp legalization. Boehner has only recently indicated that he’ll work towards its passage, but McConnell has been actively pushing for it, including being one of the prime sponsors on federal legislation to end hemp prohibition.

Although much work is left to be done, it’s clear that we’re at a breaking point. Cannabis legalization is nothing less than inevitable.

There are many victories that have occurred in 2013 that we didn’t list – we know we missed a lot – but taking a glance at the ones mentioned-above, it’s absolutely clear that it’s been an excellent year for cannabis law reform.

We couldn’t be more excited to see the progress that will be made in the coming year.

[ Editor’s Note: Sources are hyperlinked throughout the article. ]

Source: The Joint Blog


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Johnny Green


  1. Chris Mckitrick on

    when our nation was founded,in those times marijuana was Americas cash crop. the constitution of the united states was written on hemp paper. our founding four fathers were themselves hemp farmers. the first automobile was fueled with hemp oil. so much history with marijuana and so much use and absolutely no harm. our country was founded with marijuana so would it be safe to say that it may be possible that without marijuana our nation may never had been created? if the constitutional congregation would not have been high while discussing creating a nation,we might not have ever had one. if our nation was created based around marijuana,whats to say its why our nation is falling…it was illegalized in the early 1920s. ironically enough when the great depression began. since then our nation has been going mostly to the pits of hell. too bad hemp oil can replace crude oil and fuel for automobiles with hundreds of less toxins and pollutants being emitted into the atmosphere. too bad marijuana cures and treats illnesses and would replace the most expensive medications that pharmaceutical companies charge the sick and elderly. its all just too bad that when marijuana was illegalized that the pharmaceutical companies and the oil companies persuaded the government and supported the marijuana prohibition act.

  2. I wrote my state representative BRIAN HILL in Ohio…..& here is my letter & his response as follows:

    I’m writing to urge your support for House Joint Resolution 6, which would allow Ohioans to vote on regulating the adult consumption of marijuana.

    Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition and replacing it with regulation. The historic votes on Election Day in Colorado and Washington – where, for the first time ever, a majority of voters decided at the ballot box to abolish cannabis prohibition – underscore this political reality.

    The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color. Furthermore, the criminalization of cannabis simply doesn’t work.

    Despite more than 70 years of federal marijuana prohibition, Americans’ consumption of and demand for cannabis is here to stay. It is time for state lawmakers to acknowledge this reality. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and it is time for lawmakers to impose common-sense regulations governing cannabis’ personal use by adults and licensing its production. A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for limited, licensed production and sale of cannabis to adults – but restricts use among young people – best reduces the risks associated with its use or abuse.

    I encourage you to support House Joint Resolution 6 and let the Ohio voters decide if it is time to regulate marijuana.

    Scott Hill

    State Representative Brian Hill
    97th House District
    Dear Scott,

    Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding House Joint Resolution 6, which would put on the ballot the issue of legalizing marijuana here in Ohio. One of my favorite aspects of this job is the amount of feedback I receive when issues like this are proposed by my colleagues. Since its introduction by Representative Robert Hagan, I have heard from many on both sides of the marijuana topic.

    I have always been opposed to the legalization of marijuana, and remain that way now. For those who claim that medicinal marijuana helps to ease their pain and better certain symptoms they suffer from, there already exists on the legal market synthetic forms of marijuana. Legalizing cannabis in Ohio will only open the door to a world of problems that all stem from drug use: crime, introduction to other (more dangerous) drugs, and increased dependence to other drugs just to name a few. I realize that this legislation would leave it up to the citizens of Ohio to decide whether or not to legalize the drug. While I believe in the democratic system, I was elected and sent to Columbus to vote for the great people of the 97th House District on matters like this, no matter the polarizing effects they have on society. Should we, the General Assembly, vote the way the people don’t like, they can always put it up for a referendum vote and overturn our decision.
    I will continue to research the issue and learn everything that I can to cast an informed vote. However, with the drug problem that already exists in and around Muskingum and Guernsey counties, I don’t see at this time how legalizing marijuana use would help in any way.

    I am proud to represent you in Columbus, and my goal is to achieve those things that are best for our district, and for our state. Thank you again for taking time out of your day to write me regarding this issue.

    Have a nice day,

    Brian D. Hill
    State Representative
    97th House District

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