5 Reasons the Cannabis Community Can Be Thankful this Thanksgiving

   

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

5 reasons the cannabis community can be thankful this Thanksgiving:

  1. Marijuana is legal in 4 states and our nation’s capital: While there is much more work to be done, cannabis wasn’t legal in any state just over three years ago. Bonus thanks: cannabis is likely to become legal in a few more states in 2016.
  2. More than half the United States’ population lives under a state with a medicinal cannabis law: Too many patients are still denied access to a safe medicine, but 20 years ago, there were absolutely zero medical cannabis states. Medical marijuana laws are now on the books in 23 states and Washington, D.C., and more states will be passing medicinal laws in the coming years. Bonus thanks: Sanjay Gupta “evolving” on medical cannabis brought the medicine to the mainstream masses.
  3. Canada: The Liberal Party’s victory is truly an historic moment for the international cannabis community. Canadian voters decision to elect a Prime Minister that admitted to cannabis use as an elected official and a ruling party with marijuana legalization as part of the party platform, will likely have massive positive implications that will resonate across the globe. Bonus thanks: Portugal. Portugal has treated drug use as a health issue, instead of a criminal justice issue for over a decade, with many beneficial results.
  4. Willie Nelson. Willie Nelson is universally loved by just about everyone, from your hipster cousin to your conservative grandfather and he is still tokin’ strong at 82 years young. Who doesn’t like “Whiskey River” or his version of “Always on My Mind“? Willie is a national treasure and a proud member of the cannabis community. Bonus thanks: Bernie Sanders. Okay, the Vermont Senator isn’t really a member of the cannabis community, but he has drastically changed the political debate regarding marijuana legalization and broader Drug War reforms.   Whether you agree with him on any other policies, Sanders has done more to move the mainstream political debate than arguably anyone, all in a very short time.
  5. Jeff Mizanskey is celebrating Thanksgiving with his family. The plight of Mizanskey, the nonviolent Missouri man sentenced to life in prison for marijuana, resonated with concerned citizens across the nation. I have friends and family members that aren’t cannabis activists by any means who signed the online petition for his freedom. I had the honor of meeting Jeff and his son Chris earlier this month and was impressed with their kindness and genuine desire to work on the behalf of freedom and liberty. Bonus thanks: Cannabis law reformers across the globe, past and present. So many people have sacrificed so much to fight for freedom and equality for the cannabis community and so many people are still sacrificing and suffering today. Thanks to reformers, we are all a little more free, day by day, year by year.

I am so thankful that I get to work on behalf of a cause that I believe so strongly in, a cause whose time has come. It isn’t always easy to stay positive in the political realm, but it has helped me to celebrate our victories and think about the big picture of how far we have come.

 

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.