Op-ed by Tim Vee

Why hasn’t cannabis been legalized yet? Seriously, WTF?

Over the last few decades, there have been growing calls to legalize cannabis in the United States, both for medical and recreational use. Promises of legalization have been made by the last four US presidents, yet we are still waiting for the federal government to take definitive action. Why is this the case? Do the presidents lie to gain votes, (no, of course not)? Are there other forces at play affecting this ‘dragging on’ of the inevitable?

Starting with Bill Clinton, then Barack Obama, Donald Trump and now Joe Biden, each president has expressed some level of support for cannabis reform. We hear “bla, bla, I will do my part in making this right”, etc, etc. However, the federal prohibition remains in place. Year, after year, after year.

One possible explanation for this may be that these promises are empty, offered up as electoral bait to court a growing portion of the voting population that supports legalization. I know your saying “no way!”, but yes, it happens. However, there’s more beneath the surface that complicates this issue.

One factor that has likely contributed to the lack of progress at the federal level is the international treaties, such as the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This treaty, which has been signed by more than 180 countries, lists cannabis as a Schedule I substance –signifying it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. But that was over 50 years ago!!!

So, legalizing cannabis at the federal level could create conflicts with these international obligations and… profits.

Additionally, the influence of lobbyists can’t be underestimated when discussing why the US government has not legalized cannabis yet. It’s no secret that industries such as alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals have a strong lobbying presence in Washington, D.C., and those industries perceive cannabis as a potential threat to their profits. Some more then others and some may also be joining or using cannabis to their advantage. So, there is a possibility that the influence of these powerful entities has played a role in preventing cannabis from being legalized federally.

It’s ok, you can lift your mouth off the floor. We have lobbyists now too….Theirs just have more money.

Now despite this, there has been significant progress at the state level. Hats off to all of the grass roots, down home people that showed up at rallies and protests for the last 60 years for accomplishing that! I remember being at Civic Center Park in Denver year after year and it worked!

So, now we have the majority of US states choosing to legalize cannabis for medical use and/or recreational use and accepting all the benefits, and problems that go with it.

This progress points to an obvious shift in public opinion and therefor legislative priorities, putting increasing pressure on the federal government to align its policies with the will of the people. Come on elected officials, get your shit together.

The complex interaction between international treaties and lobbyist influence creates a challenging landscape in which federal legalization can occur. However, as public opinion continues to shift, the road toward legalization is more clear than ever before.

We must continue raising awareness, advocating for change, and demanding the end of cannabis prohibition so that the many potential benefits of this plant can be realized by all. Only by holding our leaders accountable and addressing the underlying factors hindering progress, we can hope for comprehensive cannabis reform at the federal level.

It is clear that we need more people to speak up and make their voices heard in order to push our elected officials to take action on this important issue. The movement towards federal cannabis reform will require grassroots, sustained pressure from engaged citizens to make this dream a reality.

Tim Vee – Owner/CEO USAWeed.org