The year's making its final descent—closing up the shutters and kicking everyone out. You don't have to go home but you can't stay here. So much has happened in this short Year of the Pig. Marijuana isn't the pariah it used to be. It's not even the sexy rebel with rolled-up shirt sleeves that it was 12 months ago. Now everybody's doing it. Your grandma's blasé about the whole thing. Oink, oink, baby.
Back when Obama was president, he actually cracked a joke and shut down an earnest question submitted online about whether cannabis legalization could improve the economy. “I don't know what this says about the online audience,” he said and laughed before answering. “No. I don't think that is a good strategy to grow our economy.” The audience ate it up. They were rolling in the aisles. This was only 10 years ago. Think about that for a minute.
Some of the nation's lawmakers are—as you read this—attempting to deschedule, reschedule or decriminalize cannabis. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act—a landmark piece of legislation that would finally allow financial institutions to work with marijuana companies without the fear of criminal charges hanging over their heads—skipped through the House on its way to the Senate with what look like good prospects. Most of the presidential candidates seem to have a progressive (the term is being used loosely, here) view of cannabis law reform. And Obama now jokes about getting kicked out of Disneyland for smoking. “These were cigarettes, people,” he says. That condescending laugh has been replaced with a knowing smile. The audience is still yucking it up, but for different reasons.
Meanwhile, in New Mexico: There are currently over 77,000 patients enrolled in the Medical Cannabis Program (12 of whom are listed as living “out of state”). Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has promised a comprehensive recreational legalization bill in 2020—and even convened a special group of experts to build the blasted thing. Possession of small amounts of cannabis was decriminalized over the summer. And people are actually arguing over the nuances of a law that requires schools to give students enrolled in the program access to cannabis on campus.
It really is an amazing, beautiful world. And as we close the drapes and settle into the twilight months, let's remember to appreciate it and be thankful. It's time to put away that blazing summer urgency and curl up with the latest edition of the Cannabis Manual. Here's some content to go with that apple cider.