“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
These are the words that were often mentioned by civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King in his fight for equal justice during the civil rights movement.
Today the fight for ending the prohibition of cannabis has been won in 38 state capitols, three U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. More than half of the U.S population reside in states where medicinal and adult use of cannabis is legal. Every major poll shows support to end prohibition of cannabis anywhere from 62 percent to 70 percent and among all political persuasions, according to the Pew Research Center.
The U.S. Congress has debated and passed at some level bipartisan federal legislation to end the prohibition of cannabis, provide for federal agency oversight, and allow for interstate sales of cannabis products. However there is no consensus on a final federal legislative proposal to send to the president of the United States.
Meanwhile, President Biden issued a directive to the U.S. Department of Justice, Health and Human Services, and the Food and Drug Administration to study, evaluate, and provide a recommendation to either reschedule or de-schedule marijuana from the current prohibitive schedule I drug. This executive act has been applauded by cannabis advocates as a necessary step given the inaction by the U.S. Congress. However, governors and state legislative leaders are not waiting and passed their own interstate commerce laws to sell cannabis products across state lines with other states with similar regulatory rules.
Last year, the governor of California led an effort and succeeded in passing into law a cannabis interstate commerce framework and soon after directed his agency to work closely with the state’s attorney general to ensure the state’s legal industry is protected when agreements between states are signed. Oregon, Washington state, Colorado, Nevada, and New Jersey are in the process of passing a similar law. California may soon begin discussions with these states about signing an interstate agreement to sell cannabis products among legal, licensed operators.
As you see, the arc of the universe is long but it is bending toward justice, and we remain confident that our movement is on the right side of history.
Sam Rodriguez is the policy director of the Santa Ynez based Good Farmers Great Neighbors, a Central Coast alliance of cannabis farmers, greenhouse operators, manufacturers, and businesses. Send a letter for publication to [email protected].