Marijuana activists begin planning for next victories

Pro-marijuana advocates, after seeing decades worth of campaigning to legalize marijuana reach a high point with new laws in Washington and Colorado, have already begun looking toward the next election cycle, planning a strategy for more victories. In their sights are ballot measures in 2014 and 2016 in states like Oregon and California, states which were among the first to allow marijuana for medical use.

Both Oregon and California have rejected attempts to legalize recreational use of marijuana, but drug-reform groups are hopeful that change may come next from these states. The November passage of ballot measures in Colorado and Washington state permits those 21 and older in those states to possess small amounts of marijuana. Purchase of the drug is permitted at special stores under rules that are to be finalized in the coming year.

No other states have yet legalized marijuana for recreational use. And, significantly, the drug is still illegal under federal law. Because of this, there has been a certain amount of uncertainty over whether the pro-legalization movement may be slowed down if the federal government acts in opposition to the new laws.

So far, the U.S. Department of Justice has largely been silent on the issue. President Obama said in a recent TV interview commented that it wouldn't be wise for the federal government to focus on using resources to go after recreational drug users that are abiding by state laws permitting them to use the drug.

It remains to be seen how marijuana advocates will proceed on the issue. In Illinois, it isn't likely that big changes will be happening anytime soon, though.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Pro-marijuana campaign looks ahead after 2012 victories," Alex Douzinskis, December 30, 2012

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