On Tuesday 6 November, the number of marijuana-friendly states went up to 33, as Michigan voters passed a bill to decriminalize the use of recreational cannabis while Utah and Missouri legalized medicinal cannabis.
For medical marijuana, the journey to national legalization dates back to1996 when Californians passed Proposition 215. The Prop 215 was a medicinal-marijuana ballot that came during Clinton’s reign when the war on drugs was severe and included draconian criminal charges and Tipper Gore’s attempts to stop rappers from including weed leaves from on the covers of their albums.
But Prop 215 had equally powerful sponsors—including George Soros. Soros was a billionaire advocate who used his finances to back the ballot initiative drafted by a pot dealer (and AIDS activist) in San Francisco who smoked up the great hall of the California State Legislature.
Two decades later, we now see more and more cannabis dispensaries around the US and increased access to dispensary loans.
Here’ s what the activists who fought for people medical marijuana legalization in California recall about the struggle:
Ethan Nadelmann, legalization activist and founder of the Drug Policy Alliance:
In the mid-’80s and early ’90s, the Drug War propelled into the Nation’s imagination at a wild pitch. Everything from presidential speeches to major magazines like the New York Times focused on Drug War. This battle on drugs went on until the first gulf war took America back to the real battlefield.
Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML and sponsor of Prop 215:
The legalization movement almost faded away in 1980 when Reagan took office. The decriminalization dream seemed unachievable, eventually hitting rock bottom in 1991. But the same year (’91) also marked a comeback for the medical marijuana movement after the death of Dennis Peron when some of his comrades presented Proposition P to the San Francisco vote. Proposition P declared that San Francisco favored medical marijuana and was a remarkable step.
But Dennis Peron had paved the way for such reforms in the 70s when he was a weed dealer and gay-rights activist. During that time, he had a restaurant known as Big Top in the Castro, where he allegedly sold recreational pot publicly. It was until 1978 when Dennis got Prop W on San Francisco ballot; the bill forbade the Drug Administration and cops from enforcing marijuana laws. Prop W passed, and Dennis depended on Mayor Moscone to push further the legalization agenda, but the dreams were shuttered when the former was assassinated alongside Harvey Milk. Dianne Feinstein took over the mayor’s office and ruined the whole thing— the city changed, and the Big Top closed down.
In a nutshell
The war to medicinal cannabis legalization begun years ago and won’t stop until we see more states get on board. This is only a sneak peek of a few of the most striking moments in the campaign.
Author Bio: As the FAM account executive, Michael Hollis has funded millions by using dispensary loans. His experience and extensive knowledge of the industry has made him finance expert at First American Merchant.