It took 75 years. Seventy-five years to win the majority support for legalizing marijuana at the ballot box.
Colorado and Washington voters passed, by substantial pluralities, legalization bills that guarantee universal access to any one, resident or visitor, 21 years or older, of up to one ounce of marijuana. In Colorado, anyone can grow up to six plants, and stores will sell marijuana to adults. In Washington, the state is obliged to distribute marijuana in retail locations.
Yes, the US federal government will object, but they can’t do anything about a state withdrawing all penalties for possessing marijuana, and they would be very unwise to overrule or challenge a state constitutional amendment such as Colorado’s Amendment 64.
The federal government doesn’t prosecute grows under 100 plants and the DEA doesn’t bust local dealers or individuals in possession. A confrontation is what the movement needs. The framers of the I-502 initiative in Washington brilliantly wrote it up and are already in talks with the US Department of Justice on how they are going to implement the law.
There is no going back now. It’s a done deal. And the news is going all over the world. Even the China Daily News quoted Jodie and myself about this historic event. Every marijuana enthusiast across the planet is excited by what’s happened in Washington and Colorado.
And in 2014, I believe California, Nevada, Oregon (who lost this time 54% to 46%) and Massachusetts will have universal access initiatives on the ballot, and perhaps other states too. The movement towards voter-approved legalization – or rather, an end to marijuana prohibition – is gaining ground with each passing year. Now 75% of British Columbians favor legalization of marijuana; that is a staggering plurality. Every day some new elected official, judge, prosecutor, former Attorney-General, mayor, DEA agent, FBI agent, Congressman or legislator comes on board.
I think marijuana legalization will be a main election discussion policy in the British Columbia May 2013 election. Members of the Legislature like Liberals Kash Heed and Joan McIntyre, and the NDP’s Nicholas Simons, have recently made public statements recommending a completely legal, regulated and taxed marijuana distribution regime. It’s getting to be a bi-partisan policy these days. I am encouraging Jodie to run in that election this May to keep the media and voters of British Columbia focused on ending prohibition.
Every one reading this felt a unique and extraordinary wave of elation on the evening of Tuesday, November 6th or the following morning when you heard “Marijuana legalized by voters in Colorado and Washington State.” This incredible euphoria has affected me; as I write this, I am giddy with the hope, excitement and possibilities of the future.
However, in Canada, it is marred by the sobering fact that the Harper government’s severe and harsh penalties for cannabis growing and selling come into effect this month. The new Safe Streets & Communities Act contains even more severe and wide-ranging penalties for all other illegal drugs. There will be pain and anguish and the further entrenchment of prohibition debasement of us all by the new Harper punishments.
But remember, Stephen Harper and the compassionless zombies that make up the Harper government are into punishment. They like it. It was the philosopher Nietzsche who warned “beware of those in whom the urge to punish is strong.” The next Canadian federal election is still 30 months away.
This is no time to slack. Everyone reading this has a job, a duty, a calling, to do more. Preparation for 2014 initiatives must be set in motion. Contact the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, NORML, and other organizations – do more for the initiatives closest to you that are being planned right now.
In Canada, be prepared for demonstrations, occupying the offices of the Members of Parliament and even the Prime Minister’s constituency office in Calgary, demanding an end to marijuana prohibition. Canadians MUST engage in a conversation with your provincial MLA or MPP, and your federal Member of Parliament. I expect anyone reading this to support my tirelessly hard-working wife Jodie when she announces her intention to run as MLA in the May 2013 election. All Canadian activists should feel duty-bound and obligated to give cash and support to Dana Larsen’s Sensible BC campaign to get a referendum in BC on decriminalizing marijuana in 2014. Get involved!
75 years it took to get to this point where the movement can now harness a majority of voters to end marijuana prohibition. This is the tipping point. My 607 days remaining in this US federal prison in Mississippi has been made a cross somewhat easier to bear, knowing that the end of prohibition is imminent.
But it won’t happen like magic. Be inspired by the example of Mason Tvert of Amendment 64’s Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and SAFER Colorado, and the example of Alison Holcomb of the Washington ACLU and the New Approach Washington I-502 organization. Be grateful for Peter Lewis and Rick Steves funding the Washington initiatives, and the organizations behind all of the legalization and medical marijuana campaigns. Pledge to take action somehow yourself, wherever you are!
May I repeat, my friend and incredible cannabis advocate Dana Larsen has virtually single-handedly put the Sensible BC referendum proposal on the map for British Columbia, but he really needs more money to continue this campaign all the way to September 2014 when the citizens of BC can vote for decriminalization. Donations can be accepted from anywhere in the world, so go to the Sensible BC website at http://www.SensibleBC.ca and give Dana some well deserved cash – $10, $25, $50, anything. It helps. A lot.
The voters of Colorado and Washington did the world a wonderful favor in looking after their own interests. They proved it can happen, not only in our lifetime, but today. I’ve dedicated my life to fighting marijuana prohibition for 22 years now. To the citizens of Colorado and Washington, I am awed with gratitude to you – and especially those who made this historic ‘fall of the cannabis Berlin Wall’ moment happen: I salute you. You’ve made history, and shown us how we can make history too. And we shall!
Marc Emery, #40252-086
Yazoo City federal prison
WANT TO DO SOMETHING?
Read Marc’s article: “Advice for Aspiring Activists”
Donate to any organization that works to reform marijuana laws, and volunteer some time for their campaigns: