“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy
If we’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that anything is possible. It was just over six months ago that Americans were trying to get into the groove of a brand-spanking-new year, only to have it ripped away in no time flat by some lung-thirsty virus. Since then, the nation has experienced lockdowns, shutdowns, borderline economic collapse, the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, and more than 150,000 deaths. And just when it seemed the worst of it was over, the hits keep on coming. A report from the Congressional Budget Office suggests that it could be a decade before the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some states are now looking to legal marijuana to help speed it along. According to federal lawmakers, it’s an ethos that could also be embraced by the U.S. government at the turn of 2021. But how it all shakes out really depends on the outcome of the upcoming November election.
It’s not as though the legalization of marijuana is some bold, new idea that still needs to be carefully assessed in the interest of keeping Americans safe and healthy. More than half the nation has legalized the leaf for recreational and medicinal use. It’s an “experiment,” as the Obama Administration use to refer to it, that has created hundreds of thousands of new jobs, revived local economies and contributed billions of dollars in tax revenue. What’s more is legal states haven’t had to sell their souls to the Devil in exchange. There haven’t been any reported social casualties due to legalization – no increases in youth consumption, addiction rates have not skyrocketed, and stoned driving is no more a concern than it’s always been. Even conservative lawmakers who were hellbent against legalization in the very beginning eventually realized there was nothing to be afraid of. Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper admitted on more than one occasion that he would have nixed the cannabis trade right out of the gate. But after years of watching a taxed and regulated system in action, he had a change of heart.