2014: A Wonderful Year for Marijuana Smokers

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel December 29, 2014

    2014 was truly a watershed year for the movement to legalize marijuana in this country.Two states joined the list of jurisdiction to switch from prohibition to regulated sales, and the District of Columbia, as well as a number of cities, adopted complete decriminalization for minor offenses. And scores of additional states saw their first serious legalization proposals introduced in their state legislatures, a fact that holds great promise for more victories to come in the near future.

    While far too many marijuana arrests continue to occur in this country, and hundreds of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens still have their lives and careers turned upside-down each year because of their use of marijuana, it is also true that the number of marijuana arrests dropped for the fourth straight year, reversing a pattern of increasing numbers of arrests that had been expanding for several decades. With additional states moving from prohibition towards decriminalization or full legalization, those numbers should continue to decline for years to come. We did not get into this mess called marijuana prohibition overnight, and it will require both persistence and patience to put it fully behind us.

    A lot of the progress we have seen over the last year occurred in ways that reflect the increasing public acceptance of marijuana, a necessary precursor to political change. 2014 was truly another banner year for legalizers.

    Here is my list of the most significant milestones of the last twelve months.


    To Read the balance of this column, please go to Marijuana.comyes-we-cannabis.

    15 responses to “2014: A Wonderful Year for Marijuana Smokers”

    1. Miles says:

      I prefer to think of myself as a marijuana consumer. I don’t like smoking so I choose to vaporize which is so much more pleasant in my opinion. By the way, I now use an Herbalizer vape and love it!!! I’ve been vaping instead of smoking for about 3 years now. Like those of you who enjoy smoking, 2014 has been good to all of us in various ways.

      Still, I live in Virginia and for now, they will lock you up in a heartbeat if you’re caught with that deadly weed…

    2. Judy says:

      I find it interesting that Keith Stroup, like myself, lives in Virginia. The laws here are really harsh and scary.

      So, I wonder Mr. Stroup, does it make you feel a bit paranoid knowing that you could be busted at any time since you are a known MJ smoker???

      Personally, I have feared (NOT respected) law enforcement for most of my life because of the stupid drug laws we are forced to abide by; if we want to avoid being treated and labeled as a criminal. It will be so nice once these laws fade into the history books. I’m sure they will be looked at by the people of the future the same way we now look at the Salem witch trials; after all, they are equally stupid, unreasonable, unjust, and without any true merit.

    3. RUT says:

      The sad thing about the continuing arrests is they do not have to happen but it is about money and jobs. Political people are just not waiting for public acceptance they are waiting for something to fill the void financially. Police jobs and money collected from paid probation. Yes all the young people that pay a probation fee each time they visit their probation officer. The funds collected from confiscated property will be hard for law enforcement to replace. The justice devision of our country is ruining young lives under the false pretense of saving and protecting them. I laugh at how they are taking their time with this marijuana issue so they do not get it wrong. They have been wrong for 70 years. Coming from florida and witnessing the hardly defended medical marijuana issue was disappointing. Law enforcement used against citizens for marijuana is a waste and a crime itself. Most marijuana laws are not based on science or truth just lies and propaganda. For government to be harming citizens lives under false premises and to insist they continue doing so shows how misguided they are. If government had to pay the public back for all the damage they have caused they would need a trillion dollars. Cash register law enforcement,prisons for profit are a marker that the end is coming for the freedoms of the great free speakers here in america. This cause should keep bringing up the fact that so many of our young are being victimized by this prohibition ruining their lives. When you see how dishonestly this issue has been treated by government just imagine what harm they are doing with the other area’s of our lives!

    4. Julian says:

      Well said Keith; I like the way you prioritized your countdown. I have one question however that may greatly change the significance of #5;
      Doesn’t the hemp amendment to the Federal Spending bill stop the DOJ from using Federal dollars to raid hemp intended for research in Universities that have partnered with their state agriculture departments in states that have legalized hemp? Kentucky and Colorado have already harvested their first crops this year, the first time this has occured legally on U.S. soil since the Hemp for Victory campaign of WWII. With the impact hemp will have on everthing from food, shelter, fuel, feed, celulosic plastics, sustainable energy, water conservation, soil retention, reforestation, sustainable non-petrol fertilizers, reduction in pesticides, increase in U.S. Exports and trade, increased rural production and agricultural sustainability by strengthening small farmers, crop diversity and heirloom seeds while reducing terminator seed monoculture, non-patentable seeds, reduction of genetically engineered crops in the U.S. diet leading to reductions in obesity and cancer, agricultural drought resistance, creating U.S. Jobs without spending a dime, innovation and revenue for education, increased quality of life and lower cost of living, economically sustainable and popular automobiles and products, sustainable quality hemp paper, increased cannabinoids and essential oils and protein in the U.S. diet leading to less disease and lowered health care costs and therefore increased revenue for infrastructure and education, hempcrete, hemp siding, hemp insulation, hemp lumber, hemp-home wrap, hemp plywood, hemp ethanol, hemp diesel, hemp oil, medicine, clothing, textiles, rugs, laminate and hemp hardwood flooring, hemp-rock, and my personal favorite, hemp joint compound TM with high THC content just for all you sheetrockers out there.
      Ill just stop right there. I think I made my hemp-point.

    5. Ryan Young says:

      Obama allowed Native Americans to grow, sell, and manage marijuana on Native American lands! December 2014

      I’m so excited since I am Native!

    6. Evening Bud says:

      I am so happy to see the various examples of MJ legalization occurring in my lifetime. Back in the 1980s I saw this day coming–it was a simple matter of demographics, I told myself back then.

      Of course, the real slog turned out to be much tougher. And it hasn’t happened with the rapidity I envisioned 30 years ago. But it HAS HAPPENED. And now that we have two more states on our side, the momentum has continued. If we can add another small handful of states in ’16, I think it’ll be tougher and tougher to halt our cause.

      So a great big thank you to NORML and other MJ advocates for your tireless work. I salute all of you; and in fact I’ll be doing that tonight as I play a board game–one of my favorite pastimes while I’m buzzing. I will offer a hearty MJ toast to each and every one of you.

    7. Mark I. says:

      I have a quarter native in my bloodline.
      Will I have the choice? It has been enlightening to seek pain relief by visiting states where it is available at a dispensary, and not actively promote the prohibition and cartel dominance of the black market. The future appears greener by the vote and choices therein.

    8. Bob Constantine says:

      @ Ryan Young

      Obama doesn’t own you or me. He can no more “allow” me to use a plant as he can disallow me. I own myself, so do you. None of us, Obama included, own others. Peace.

    9. St. Nick 'n' Dime says:

      “It’s my party and I’ll get high if I want to, high if I want to, high if I want to. You’d wanna get high too if you knew what it did to you.”
      Not like this war on drugs is gonna stop that. The people want to safely “get high” and it doesn’t matter if some shit-assed repugniCANTs in the government don’t want that. They ARE NOT the majority and ARE NOT more important than %99 of us. God will make them answer to them(gods) for THEIR crimes against all people. This joke that aspirin can be purchased by children and it and all other drugs are WAY more dangerous than Cannabis is not funny (unless you’re high). Just keep up what we are doing (winning this war because there are way more drugs now and better quality then when Nixon started this failed and lost war on American citizens), don’t be shocked or surprised at what they will TRY to do to stop this keeping a harmless weed from making money for us and helping us live, feel and think the way we want to and just keep on buckin’, the retarted and insane system. These republicants aren’t living in reality themselves and instead in some sick, dark world where they actually think their way of doing things is going to get them elected and that it works? No, it doesn’t.
      I’d rather live in a good reality where I feel happiness and love without fear of anything, especially being arrested for smoking a good tasting herb that helps with millions of things including my Schizophrenia, and it DOES help. I’m not asking you I’m telling you. You bitch-ass republicans will not last. Neither will your rich lives and you will have to answer to God after death. Your rules will not last. Your evil ways will be karmically returned to you in time and people and Gods are viewing you as we speak.

    10. Stanley ballard says:

      Dear NORML,as this new year starts Please ,Please don’t forget about us in Alabama,we are in desperate need of your help.Don’t think because I live in a conservative state that there is no support for legalization ,there is great support for it !!! We just need your help! I have stage 3 bone cancer & they are killing me with chemo. I would rather take my chances with hash oil , at least I believe in it &zit would be on my terms! Thanks souch for all you do ,I keep yall in my prayers nightly!!!! Sincerely Stanley Ballard