As Canada legalizes marijuana and Mexico thinks about doing the same, one burning question is on the minds of many: When will the United States legalize recreational marijuana?
Mexican officials announced they may reform their marijuana laws; a new poll finds American support for legalization is higher than ever; and Colorado researchers predict when cannabis will be legal throughout the U.S. Here are some of the crucial news items of the week ending Oct. 26, 2018.
Will Mexico Be Next to Legalize Marijuana?
Mexico’s President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador won’t officially take office until Dec. 1, 2018, but his newly appointed foreign minister Marcelo Ebrar has already started talking about marijuana legalization with Canadian officials. The proposed plan is meant to diminish the violent crimes plaguing Mexico, according to an Oct. 24, 2018,, United Press International report.
Con Christian Freeland ,ministra de relaciones internacionales de Canadá. Legalizacion del cannabis ; visas de trabajo ; reforma de la ONU, derechos de pueblos indigenas , superación de aranceles y cuotas de acero; normas para la minería en México entre los temas tratados . pic.twitter.com/oDoMDkWXBJ
— Marcelo Ebrard C. (@m_ebrard) October 23, 2018
In 2017, Mexico had 31,174 homicides, according to data published by the Mexican National Institute of Statistics and Geography, or 20.5 homicides per 100,000 people, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., though one expert the news organization cited said the number may be higher because of Mexico counting active murder investigations rather than number of victims (i.e., more than one victim could be a part of a single investigation).
Now that Canada has officially rolled out legalization and Mexico is contemplating doing the same, this seems like the perfect time for our elected officials to contemplate international marijuana trade. As former Mexican President Vicente Fox observed, once marijuana is legalized in North America, “I think it should be part of NAFTA, and that’s what I’m pursuing.”
While I’m not sure whether U.S. patients or customers are ready to get their marijuana from Mexico or Canada via a NAFTA agreement, I know that a debate is on the horizon. Free trade may sound like a good idea for any politician on the campaign trail, but the reality is it would likely wreak havoc on small farms that have struggled due to excessive regulation and exceedingly high taxes. As Lee Corwin of Stone Road Farms in Grass Valley, California, told the Huffington Post, “If we add foreign-grown, low-cost marijuana to the equation, it would be a death sentence for many American marijuana businesses and the tens of thousands of well-paying jobs this industry provides.”
Poll Finds Two-thirds of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana
Yet another poll finds that Americans think weed should be legal, already. Two-thirds of Americans now say they now support legalizing recreational marijuana, according to the Oct. 22, 2018 poll by Gallup.
— NORML (@NORML) October 24, 2018
The poll also indicates the partisan divide has narrowed since 2017. While 75 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of independents voiced agreement with legalization, 53 percent of Republicans support marijuana reform. Americans between the ages of 18 to 34 years showed the strongest support for legalization at 78 percent; 59 percent of those older than 55 also support legalization.
The people have spoken! They think weed should be legal. How many of these polls do we need from Pew and Gallup telling us what we’ve known for years: Cannabis. Should. Be. Legal.
Is The End Of Federal Prohibition Near?
Although cannabis remains prohibited at the federal level in the U.S., an ever-increasing number of states have legalized the plant for medicinal and recreational purposes since 1996. But with Canada introducing legalization on Oct. 17, 2018, researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the Santa Fe Institute compiled a report that uses a “simple diffusion model, based on classic logistic growth” to predict when the federal government will ultimately legalize marijuana, according to Marijuana Moment.
When will weed be legal in the United States? The model predicted that the U.S. would legalize cannabis nationwide in 2021, based on the trends set by the first five states to legalize. Based on the first nine states, it jumped to 2023.
And while public support and data models are nice, it’s sure hard to imagine getting marijuana legalized at the federal level under the current political climate. In other words, to help legalization happen sooner rather than later, anti-marijuana officials such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, need to be voted out of office ASAP.