Last year was packed with legalization-related developments.
The Huffington Post has published Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia’s top ten legalization-related pot stories of 2011. Judging by the list, it was a pretty busy year. Here’s a condensed version of the highlights:
1. After over a decade of congressional infighting the Obama administration eliminates the National Youth Anti-Drug media campaign, saving tax payers a whopping $186 million annually.
2. A bill cosponsored by Ron Paul and Barney Frank—which would allow states to legally determine their own medical marijuana policy—is introduced to congress, gaining the support of an abysmal 22 house members. Many more will be needed for the bill to gain traction.
3. Public support for legalizing marijuana rises to 50% for the first time ever.
4. Delaware becomes the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana.
5. Maryland amends MMJ laws, allowing people caught with pot to contest illegal possession by demonstrating a medical need for its use.
6. Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico and Washington DC either implement or expand existing MMJ laws.
7. Arkansas and Connecticut reduce penalties for possession.
8. World leaders condemn the US war on drugs. Kofi Annan and many others support decriminalization. Latin leaders, citing the burden of violence plead for reform. Mexican President Felipe Calderon, referring to the US, said, “We are living in the same building, and our neighbor is the largest consumer of drugs in the world and everyone wants to sell him drugs through our door and our window.”
9. Ron Paul steps up his vocal attacks on US drug war, calling it a waste of taxpayer’s money and inherently racist.
10. Several state governors, including Christine Gregoire of Washington, and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, formally petition the federal government to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I drug to Schedule II, redefining the drug as one with legitimate medical uses.