Medical marijuana is now legal in a clear majority of states. Recreational marijuana’s progress is slower, but a future of completely legal cannabis doesn’t seem that far off. Or at least it didn’t until Donald Trump was elected president. Some people previously assumed that Trump wouldn’t care much about legalization, but that ultimately doesn’t matter if top figures in his administration do care.
The latest episode of Last Week Tonight delved into the complex topic of marijuana legalization and how the United States is (shockingly) one of the world’s more pot-progressive countries — for now, at least. That’s right. Despite the fact that federal laws forces marijuana producers to conduct the entirety of their business in cash, it’s still easier to access cannabis here than in many places.
Previously, although marijuana was technically illegal on a federal basis, the average smoker didn’t have to worry about being targeted by the federal government. That could all change in the near future, as some of the executive branch’s most influential individuals take issue with legalization and will make every effort to push back.
As John Oliver explains, Jeff Sessions views marijuana as a super-dangerous drug. He is certainly not going to preserve the Obama administration’s guidelines regarding marijuana enforcement. If we’re lucky, progress on this issue will plateau, but as Last Week Tonight indicates we just might slip backward.
The divide between state and federal law is worse than many people realized. Despite medical marijuana being legal in many states, veterans cannot access the affordable treatments they need through VA hospitals. Furthermore, disabled individuals living in legalized states can lose their jobs if they are found to have tested positive for marijuana — even if they can prove they were given a prescription.
Accessing and selling marijuana may be tricky due to federal regulations and enforcement, but we suspect Sessions and his cohorts are on the wrong side of history. With 60 percent of Americans in favor of legalized marijuana and the number growing all the time, we expect that marijuana will one day be easy to access for both medical and recreational purposes — we just might have to wait until the current administration is out of office.