The “Cannabis State of the Union 2018,” annotated

By Christopher Ingraham

Consultant Angel Martos holds a marijuana leaf at the Canna Pi medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle, Washington, November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante

Tomorrow is 4/20, an unofficial day of celebration for marijuana users nationwide.

To mark the occasion Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D.-Ore.), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, released what he’s calling the “Cannabis State of the Union 2018.” It’s a reckoning of the state of domestic marijuana policy and a look forward to the debates we’re likely to see in the coming year.

The speech covers a lot of ground, so we’ve annotated it below.

CONGRESSMAN EARL BLUMENAUER: For the two decades after cannabis was listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, we were spinning our wheels. While a few states decriminalized marijuana, starting with Oregon in 1973, we were basically overwhelmed by Richard Nixon’s misguided War on Drugs.

In 1996, with California’s vote to legalize medical marijuana—followed shortly thereafter by Arizona and Oregon—we moved into a new period of activism driven by the will of the voters, not the politicians. Victories for medical marijuana and decriminalization began piling up in state after state.

The adult-use victories of 2012 and 2014 in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and the District of Columbia signaled the shift to broader acceptance and increasingly sophisticated campaigns. The wins in eight of nine states’ elections in 2016 cemented the revolution.

The public, and some politicians, finally understood that it was time to end the failed prohibition of cannabis. Whether it was because of the merits of the case for legalization or the power of the politics, or both, people started to get on board.

Last year, I founded the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus to involve more members of Congress with our efforts. There are now dozens of pieces of legislation to end federal interference with state-legal cannabis, to de-schedule …read more