A vast majority of Americans seem to really get it: Marijuana should be legalized, taxed, and regulated in the United States.
What happened in the week ending Oct. 13, 2018? The Trump administration announced its seeking public comments on marijuana reclassification, a new national poll by the Pew Research Center indicates high support for legalization. Even Utah, one of the most conservative states in the nation, is preparing for medical marijuana in 2019.
The FDA Wants Your Opinion On Marijuana Reclassification
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its first drug made from cannabis on June 25, 2018. Now, the FDA is asking the American public whether marijuana should be reclassified under the International Drug Control Treaties. In addition to reviewing several other substances for reclassification, the FDA is currently seeking public input on the impact of rescheduling marijuana, according to an Oct. 8, 2018, Forbes report.
IMPORTANT: The FDA is now accepting public comments about whether marijuana should be rescheduled under international law. Don’t miss this chance to have your voice heard!https://t.co/ncJxACSZkS
— MPP Marijuana Policy (@MarijuanaPolicy) October 10, 2018
Marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug within the U.S.’ Controlled Substances Act, and that’s a potential problem for signatory countries that have reformed their marijuana laws.
The public’s opinion will reportedly be used to help formulate a response from the federal government to the World Health Organization.
Ordinarily, I would consider this to be a good thing, but given the existence of the Trump administration’s Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, these opinions could potentially represent a problem. As BuzzFeed News reported on Aug. 30, 2018, the committee is trying to weaponize any negative information they can dig up from states that have legalized recreational marijuana.
Pew Poll Shows High Support for Marijuana Legalization
In a poll published Oct. 8, 2018, a Pew Research Center survey found that 62 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana. While the logic behind recreational legalization continues to gain traction globally — think Uruguay and Canada — Americans are also embracing marijuana reform in greater numbers, according to Pew’s survey.
Nearly seven-in-ten Democrats (69%) say marijuana use should be legal, as do 75% of independents who lean toward the Democratic Party. Republicans are divided, with 45% in favor of legalizing marijuana and 51% opposed. https://t.co/OxSKfN4To3 pic.twitter.com/9KOiNn4LHy
— Pew Research Fact Tank (@FactTank) October 8, 2018
The national survey revealed 75 percent of independents and 69 percent of Democrats support marijuana legalization. But while independents and Democrats overwhelmingly support reforming America’s marijuana laws, only 45 percent of Republicans were in favor of legalization. Per the poll, the GOP’s support for legalization has increased 6 points in just three years. And that’s relatively encouraging.
With the exception of Vermont, every other state that has fully legalized marijuana to date has done so through a voter initiative. So, that makes eight states where a majority of the voting public has clearly favored marijuana legalization over marijuana prohibition.
The Pew poll shows nearly 62 percent of Americans support recreational legalization. And understanding that your average politician’s top priority is to get reelected, I can’t help but imagine we’ll see a few more Republicans have their own personal coming to Jesus moment over marijuana reform. #Vote
Utah Will Receive Medical Marijuana in 2019
Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has promised to call a special legislative session to address the issue of medical marijuana following the election Nov. 6, 2018. Proposition 2 is a ballot initiative put forward by the voters, but regardless of whether it passes, the measure’s overwhelming appeal among the electorate has pushed the predominantly Republican legislature to address the need of the people.
“If it doesn’t pass, then we need to get with the Legislature and come back into session and create a better law,” Herbert told the Salt Lake Tribune in late August 2018.
A poll conducted Oct. 9, 2018, by Deseret News found 64 percent of likely voters in the Beehive State will cast their ballot in support of Proposition 2.
— Deseret News (@DeseretNews) October 11, 2018
Despite opposition from Herbert, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Utah Medical Association, and the Utah Sheriffs Association, the people’s overwhelming support and approval of medical marijuana has forced the traditionally red state to address the topic of medical marijuana, regardless of their ideological opposition.
When medical marijuana becomes a reality in Utah, it will have demonstrated that it can become a reality in any state. Regardless of whether Proposition 2 passes, the will of the people will have defeated some very powerful folks. On Oct. 4, 2018, the Mormon church joined elected officials in announcing they had come to an agreement to allow medical marijuana for qualified patients. This is what #Winning looks like.