Dgo woarrow

The outlook for legal marijuana in 2018

Ar 180109892
Associated Press

A banner for “The State of Cannabis,” a California industry group, is displayed in a lobby of a hotel in Long Beach, Calif.
Ar 180109892
Associated Press

A banner for “The State of Cannabis,” a California industry group, is displayed in a lobby of a hotel in Long Beach, Calif.

The outlook for legal marijuana in 2018

Associated Press

A banner for “The State of Cannabis,” a California industry group, is displayed in a lobby of a hotel in Long Beach, Calif.

If you are reading this article, you somehow survived 2017 (aka The Weirdest 13 Moons in Memory) and these words are beaming through the ether to your eyes in the glorious light of this new year, a year that will, if the last couple/few are any indication, go down in cannabis history. For better or for worse is the question.

The march to “legitimacy” has picked up speed here in the second half of the second decade of this still-shiny new millennium. The number of legal weed states, either medical, recreational, or both, has climbed from 23 in 2015 to the current 28 and the District of Columbia (kinda sorta) joining Colorado in a lovely, pungent, hazy atmosphere.

The ranks of the recreational were bolstered mightily by the 2016 election, when successful ballot initiative drives saw Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, and California join the ranks of Colorado, Oregon, Washington state, and Alaska; Vermont is very likely to be the first state to legalize recreational use through its legislature and there may be in the neighborhood of a dozen states poised to end prohibition during the span of the next year or so. This includes New Jersey, a major turnaround with governor-elect Phil Murphy’s full-bore support of fast-track recreational legalization replacing the bass-ackwards ideas of staunch prohibitionist (and big political loser) Chris Christie. There will almost certainly be a Midwest representative to the Cannabis Caucus. The money train will continue to chug-chug-chug down the track as recreational programs roll out on the East Coast; Vegas will be even easier for cannabis aficionados (and Raiders fans) to visit; California’s ledger sheet will resemble that of a small country; a few more states will add or expand medical programs; business connections will be made; banks will work with the component parts of an ever-growing cannabis industry; what was a completely organic, underground economy will show itself, in its shiny, new barely legal glory; scientific research will further explain the ways the molecules of the plant interact with our human molecules. This is an equally exciting time to be alive for folks who have had a relationship to this vegetative gift to humanity for a large percentage of their lives and those who have just begun to uncover the layers of wonder winding through C. sativa.

Then, there is the possibility of a federal crackdown on “Any-to-All Things Marihuana.” Departments of Justice are going to do what Departments of Justices do – enforce the laws on the books – and it is high time for Congress to change the laws relating to cannabis. What is to be done about that kind of thing? The reality is that this is a political problem and demands a political solution. Don’t over-think the metaphor – what type of political activism might be associated with championing the progress of a plant? I’ll just wink and nod and not say “grassroots.” And everyone can do our own little parts. We just level up a little, acquire a little knowledge, spread that knowledge. Users become supporters. Supporters become advocates. Advocates become activists. And, maybe, this will be the year the chuckleheads in D.C., where you can kinda sorta already use cannabis legally, will get it right. Maybe 2018 will be a really good year.

Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at chrstphrgallagher@gmail.com.

Ar 180109892

Associated Press

A banner for “The State of Cannabis,” a California industry group, is displayed in a lobby of a hotel in Long Beach, Calif.