MPP’s Rob Kampia Lists His Top 10 2015 Marijuana Victories

   

Each and every year, the cannabis community can celebrate success and 2015 was no different. While off-year elections are not going to usher in as many monumental changes as election years, there are still electoral, political and cultural victories to celebrate.

Many political victories have been ushered in or aided by the Marijuana Policy Project, including the very first marijuana law reform campaign I ever worked on, legalizing up to 35 grams of medical marijuana for patients and decriminalizing that amount for everyone, in Columbia, Missouri, all the way back in 2004. Progress made in 2015 has set up more success in 2016 and I look forward discussing past and future success with advocates all across the globe at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference next February in San Francisco. Without further ado, here a a few highlights of 2015, according to MPP’s Rob Kampia:

10. Local Decriminalization Measures: In Florida, seven local governments (including Miami-Dade County) opted to allow officers to cite, rather than arrest, adults found in possession of marijuana. And in Michigan, an average of 55% of voters in East Lansing, Portage, and Keego Harbor decriminalized marijuana possession.

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2. U.S. Senate: Bernie Sanders (D-VT) grabbed some headlines when he introduced the first-ever bill to legalize marijuana in the U.S. Senate. Just as significantly, Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced in the Senate the first-ever, comprehensive medical marijuana bill, which now has 16 co-sponsors. In the meantime, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to prohibit DOJ from spending taxpayer money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws, as well as a second amendment to allow physicians in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to recommend medical marijuana to vets.

1. Presidential Candidates: All three of the major Democratic candidates for president said they support allowing states to regulate marijuana as they see fit. This was impressive, but it was even more impressive when nine of the 17 Republican candidates said the same thing, and even six of the remaining eight “bad” Republicans said something good about medical marijuana or decriminalization.

Kampia’s entire top 10 list is certainly worth reading. The one quibble I have with Rob is that he left off some major electoral success in Oregon, granted I may be a bit biased as an Oregonian. The Beaver State followed up the largest statewide vote for cannabis legalization with a legislative session that saw most marijuana felonies ended; the ability for most marijuana offenders to erase old convictions off of their record; and the start of early marijuana sales through existing medical marijuana dispensaries, generating millions of dollars in sales a year before the state expected to get licensed and regulated cannabis commerce off of the ground. While the year wasn’t perfect, and even a cannabis-policy-pioneering state like Oregon has more work to do, a lot was accomplished by the cannabis community across the nation and world and I look forward to an even brighter 2016.

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.