Slow isn’t the word for the federal government’s progress on marijuana law reform. “Nonexistent” is more apt. Today the Editorial Board of the New York Times called out both Congress and President Obama for lack of progress.
To date, all of the movement towards a rational marijuana policy has come from the states and the District of Columbia. Four states and DC have legalized personal use of marijuana. Twenty have decriminalized pot. Twenty-three states have medical marijuana programs.
Meanwhile, the feds have been holding the line on prohibition, including prosecution and mandatory minimum sentences. As the Time noted, marijuana remains illegal for any purpose under federal law. The feds have blocked research into cannabis’ medical benefits, by continuing to classify it as a Schedule I drug, despite overwhelming evidence of medical use and low toxicity.
Polling numbers from Colorado and elsewhere indicate that people are happy with legalization, and very happy at the extra tax revenue marijuana sales tax is bringing into state coffers.
Will the Times piece move the feds? Stay tuned.