After the massive victories that the marijuana law reform movement racked up this week many are wondering what’s next? Where do activists go from here and where should they focus their efforts?
With an incoming Trump Administration it’s unlikely that there will be much reform at the federal level. The best that can be hoped for is that the Congress will pass some banking and tax reforms that will loosen restrictions that state-legal marijuana businesses face and that Trump will not object enough to veto those measures or veto the bills they are in.
Several states are likely to attempt marijuana legalization for all adults in the next 2 years; Michigan activists came close to getting on the ballot this year and will be back for another battle and efforts are already underway to try again in Arizona.
As for the states that legalized this time around, legal sales won’t start in most of them until 2018. Until then, the information we have about marijuana retail shops and their effects on the states they are in will still come from Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska (which recently began retail sales).
Some fear President Trump – or at least some in his administration – will want to take on legal marijuana directly. “President-Elect Trump has clearly and repeatedly pledged to respect state marijuana laws, and we fully expect him to follow through on those promises, not only because it is the right thing to do but also because these reforms are broadly supported by a growing majority of voters,” said Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority. “Reversing course and going against the tide of history would present huge political problems that the new administration does not need.”
While much remains to be seen over the next 2 years, one thing is for certain: those who wish to see an end to cannabis prohibition clearly have momentum, demographics and culture on their side.