2013: The Year In Review – NORML’s Top 10 Events That Shaped Marijuana Policy

#1 Public Support For Legalizing Marijuana Hits Historic Highs
An unprecedented 58 percent of Americans believe that marijuana ought to be “made legal” for adult consumption, according to survey data reported in October by Gallup. The percentage is the highest level of support ever recorded by Gallup, which has been inquiring on the issue since 1969, and marks a ten percent increase in voter approval since 2012. Regional polls conducted this year in several states, including California, Louisiana, and Texas, also reported majority support for legalization.

#2 Nation Of Uruguay Passes Legislation Regulating Cannabis Use
Lawmakers in the South American nation of Uruguay enacted legislation authorizing the licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to all citizens age 18 and older. Residents will be able to legally purchase up to 40 grams of cannabis per month from state-licensed stores at a price of $1 per gram. Uruguay is the first country in modern history to officially legalize and regulate the licensed production and retail sale of cannabis.

#3 Feds Pledge Not To Interfere In State-Licensed Retail Sales Of Cannabis
Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued a three-page memorandum in August affirming that the US Justice Department will allow Colorado and Washington to move forward with statewide efforts to license and regulate the adult marijuana market. Cole later reaffirmed the agency’s position in testimony before the US Senate, stating, “We will not … seek to preempt state ballot initiatives.”

#4 States Finalize Regulations Governing Adult Cannabis Sales
Regulators in Colorado and Washington this fall began accepting applications from businesses seeking to engage in the licensed cultivation, production, and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis-infused products. In Washington, several thousand applicants have applied to pot business licenses. In Colorado, regulators have begun approving licenses and several commercial establishments are expected to be open for business on January 1, 2014.

#5 Record Number Of Statewide Marijuana Reform Measures Enacted Into Law
Lawmakers in a dozen states approved some 20 pieces of marijuana law reform legislation in 2013. Specifically, lawmakers in Colorado and Vermont enacted legislation licensing commercial hemp production; Illinois and New Hampshire legalized the use and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes; Oregon and Nevada approved regulations allowing for the establishment of medical cannabis distribution facilities; and Oregon and Vermont significantly reduced marijuana possession penalties.

#6 Cannabis Dispensaries Open In Washington, DC
Medical cannabis facilities opened for business in Washington, DC in 2013. The establishments are licensed and regulated by the District of Columbia, which finally unveiled its long-awaited medical marijuana program earlier this year. State-authorized dispensaries also opened for the first time this year in New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Lawmakers in four states, Illinois, Oregon, Nevada and New Hampshire, enacted legislation in 2013 allowing for the establishment of medicinal cannabis facilities.

#7 Study: Blacks Arrested For Pot Offenses At Rates Four Times That Of Whites
African Americans are far more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession offenses than are whites, according to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report released in June that analyzed arrest data from 945 counties nationwide. The report found that blacks were approximately four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession in 2010, even though both ethnicities consumed the substance at similar rates. Authors reported that the racial disparity in arrest rates had grown significantly over the past decade and that in some states African Americans were nearly eight times as likely as whites to be arrested for cannabis possession.

#8 FDA Approves Clinical Trials Of CBD In Cases Of Pediatric Epilepsy
The US Food and Drug Administration this fall granted approval for the importation of cannabidiol (CBD) extracts as an experimental treatment for a rare, intractable form of pediatric epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome. Preliminary clinical trials assessing the safety and tolerability of the compound in children are scheduled to begin in early 2014. Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has been documented to possess a variety of therapeutic qualities, including anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-epileptic, anti-cancer, and bone-stimulating properties.

#9 Study: No Association Between Cannabis Smoking And Lung Cancer
Subjects who regularly inhale cannabis smoke possess no greater risk of lung cancer than do those who consume it occasionally or not at all, according to data presented in May at the annual meeting of the American Academy for Cancer Research. UCLA investigators analyzed data from six case-control studies, conducted between 1999 and 2012, involving over 5,000 subjects (2,159 cases and 2,985 controls). They reported, “Our pooled results showed no significant association between the intensity, duration, or cumulative consumption of cannabis smoke and the risk of lung cancer overall or in never smokers.”

#10 Members Of Congress Introduce Legislation To End Federal Pot Prohibition
Members of Congress in February introduced historic legislation, HR 499: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, to remove cannabis from the control of the Drug Enforcement Administration and authorize the US Department of Treasury to license state-authorized retail marijuana producers and distributors. Although Congress refused to vote on the measure in 2013, it was the most-viewed legislation on the Congress.gov website.

18 thoughts

  1. The most viewed on the Congress.gov website
    Well that says it all,reintroduce it and force a vote
    To see who the corrupted rats are.

  2. I was looking for something about the Feds that they gave the green light to banking with the cannabis industry. I must have missed something. Last thing I want to see is the Feds swooping in on the cannabis enterprises and banking institutions in Colorado and Washington.

    Anymore on that?

    Just watched the video on NYC cops who basically knew where he took his smoke breaks and flicked his butts, and had the opportunity to plant part of a smoked joint there. Couldn’t tell if it was a roach mostly smoked all the way down which could indicate it was not thrown there to ditch it as soon as he saw the cops. Astronomical waste of money! Time! Human Resources!

    That, and creating an echo chamber of advocates for cannabis in treating Dravet, epilepsy, could be in the making, as parents of children have been in the news in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. I want to see national network and cable tv segments linking all the cases from these prohibitionist states sway political and public opinion in these states.

    I do not approve of the Feds spending any money and federal resources of any kind meddling in the state, and I want to see this federal legislation seeking to do that move forward. I would think a do-nothing Congress would jump at the chance to have the Feds do less work, and get their hands on that money that would have been spent wasting people’s lives, time and money. You know, they’re just bickering most of the time, and they don’t have a new cash flow plan or they’d be implementing it already. Congress needs to get started on it first thing in 2014. Move that legislation forward.

  3. Understanding #7: Disproportionate arrests of African-Americans– this issue provides an opportunity to review the status of the United States of America as the leading worldwide center of PUNISHMENT (more prisoners than China or anybody, half of all weapons on the planet, etc.) and to link this punishment obsession to the historic fact of SLAVERY which persisted longer in the US than elsewhere, into the modern industrial age (1860’s).

    1. The basis of slavery was that if you disobey a command you will be PUNISHED.

    2. If you try to run away you will be PUNISHED EXTRA HARD.

    3. Anyone who tries to help a slave escape (Underground Railroad) can be PUNISHED WITH DEATH.

    The surviving modern equivalent of Negro slavery is Nicotine slavery; substitution of cannabis for tobacco is feared by the disproportionately $$-powerful nicotine $igarette industry (Republican Party, etc.).

    Disproportionate law enforcement and PUNISHMENT against use of cannabis by blacks aims to reduce chances that many majority white youngsters, imitating black models, would escape from “control”, use cannabis instead of tobacco, or even if they use tobacco, use much smaller amounts by means of “paraphernalia” instead of $igarettes. (This is a continuation of the fear, even before the 1930’s, of “jazz” influence.)

    Because of the recognized (2011 WHO estimate) killing of 6,000,000 human beings a year through chronic $igarette addiction, NORML and pro-cannabis advocates worldwide should concentrate efforts on the premise that (1)substituting cannabis for tobacco, and (2) substituting vaporization, including drawtube-augmented one-hitters, for H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide $igarette papers, can successfully address the #1 public health disaster in human history (200 million deaths since 1853) and thereby win universal respect for cannabis and for the rights of cannabis-users.

  4. I believe you are missing the point here. In order for the government to take a stance on the legalization of marijuana. They must first get concrete numbers on revenues created from prosecutions, fines, incarceration, etc. Then calculate the savings plus revenues they can generate on taxing. Politicians have to calculate their political futures also. It was never about the substance. The government does not have a moral compass. Always remember that. Money, Position. People are just an inconvenience they are forced to deal with. It must be difficult to perpetuate the delicate balance of indifferences of peoples by means of global propaganda in order to subjugate an entire planet. Yes?

  5. Its been a good year but its not over yet. There’s a reason why congress has ignored a popular house bill. All the lies and deception is about to come to light and the feds are scrambling for damage control.

    2014 is going to be interesting.

  6. District of Columbia home rule is the ability of residents of the District of Columbia to govern their local affairs. As the federal capital, the constitution grants the United States Congress exclusive jurisdiction over the District in “all cases whatsoever.” Can congress in it form say it is ok we voted for it and not apply to the country as a hole?

  7. As many have said – I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings. It will get interesting at the UN (and other organisations) when cannabis is legal in the USA but treaties enforce prohibition around the world. That is a situation which is rapidly approaching.

    December 2012 was the end of the Mayan calendar (remember all that doom and gloom ?). 2013 really showed it was the start of a new era for our planet where cannabis improves the lives of many, their health and their society.

  8. The UN has the obligation to enforce marijuana prohibition on other countries like Uraguay yet Colorado and Washington have legalized it for recreational use. The USA holds all the control over the UN so to ask for global prohibition while 2 of our state’s can sell marijuana for recreational use is stupid. Do we expect the UN to tell us to stop? And if we don’t then what?

  9. @Ray
    This is just one of the double standards that our government holds. There are many more but less publicized. As for the U.N. They will do as ordered plus marijuana prohibition is the least of they’re worries.

  10. Isay by end of march we will see what will happen in col,and wash state. Istill dont belive it will be good. soon Texas stat tropers will be makeing u lick a pad to see if u been useing cannabis. Its going to get a lot worst now. Corpus Christi Texas has become a police city.

  11. “Politicians have to calculate their political futures also. It was never about the substance. The government does not have a moral compass. Always remember that. Money, Position. People are just an inconvenience they are forced to deal with. It must be difficult to perpetuate the delicate balance of indifferences of peoples by means of global propaganda in order to subjugate an entire planet. Yes?”

    What planet would that be? Who has subjugated the planet, except for our ever expanding population. No “government” is subjugating the planet, other then “humans”.

    Planting a marijuana field is an example of this “subjugation”.

    “Politicians” stealing from the public good belong in jail, not put up on a pedstal like we have done with Bill Clinton and George Bush-two worthless pathological liars. The problem as I see it, is believing we can “invest” in pathological liars. As if they are suddenly stop being dirtbags because now they have real responsibilities. Don’t vote for pieces of shit (Twitt Romney got half the vote, when he did not even earn any votes from anyone) folks. But if you’re attracted to pieces of shit, I don’t know what to say… Keep voting the dirtbags and continue to wonder why things don’t turn around. Keep asking for abuse, they will provide it.

  12. Florida doesn’t care. Texas doesn’t care. Arizona doesn’t care. South Carolina doesn’t care. New Jersey doesn’t care. All the states slow to get rid of slavery, still do not care even today. Like with the underground rail road, it is time to move somewhere the police don’t have extra-consistutional rights. The commies are taking over in the south.

  13. It’s time for all of us to open our wallets and donate to norml. How much? What’s it worth to not sneak around like a criminal. What is it worth to lawyer your way out of a jail sentence. What’s it worth to be raised by a parent who is happy and high rather than drunk and abusive? How about all the children whos parents are in jail over this plant? Like our president said ” compromise”. Remove it from schedule 1. Here is to 2014!

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