Some of the most memorable moments of the last year for cannabis
2017 was a year we’ll never forget. Unpredictable politics and natural disaster definitely kept us on our toes—and was a gentle reminder to focus on the smaller things we are grateful for. There was plenty of change in the cannabis world as well. Here, look back on some of the biggest moments for cannabis in 2017. We hope everyone had a safe and relaxing holiday—here’s to 2018 being the best year yet.
Cannabis finally becomes a bi-partisan issue
2017 marked a huge turning point regarding the public opinion of cannabis. As the year comes to an end, people support cannabis in higher numbers than ever before. Democrats have historically favored legalization and 72 percent support it today, according to Gallup polls. But, for the first time in 50 years, the same polls indicated a majority of Republicans support legalization. 51 percent, to be exact. Overall, 64 percent of those polled support legalization. This is the highest number ever.
“The trajectory of Americans’ views on marijuana is similar to that of their views on same-sex marriage over the past couple of decades,” Gallup said in its analysis of the data. “On both issues, about a quarter supported legalization in the late 1990s, and today 64% favor each.” Hopefully, public opinion will continue to improve.
Jeff Sessions continues to threaten state cannabis laws
If there’s anything we know for sure about US Attorney General Jeff Session, we know he hates cannabis. The former Alabama senator has a long history of being an adamant opposer to legalization. He once said, “[The KKK] was OK until I found out they smoked pot.”
While there isn’t much he can do to stop states from legalizing cannabis, this didn’t stop him from making comments about it for most of the year. He has written senators asking them to oppose legalization in their states. This far, Sessions’ attitude on cannabis has been mostly bark and no bite. Let’s hope it stays that way in 2018.
People begin to take cannabis seriously as an alternative to opioids
You might have seen our September 2017 post about the opioid epidemic. Opioid overdose has become a huge issue for our nation—and claims thousands of lives.
Here’s an excerpt from our previous blog post: “Cannabis may be a more effective option for those seeking pain relief. According to a 2016 study which surveyed 244 medical cannabis patients in Michigan, medical cannabis use was associated with an overall 64 percent decrease in opioid use and a 45 percent improvement in the quality of life. Even more revealing are statistics comparing the number of deaths in states where medical cannabis has been legalized, versus where it has not. In addition, an American Medical Association study examining numbers of deaths between 1999 and 2010 found the numbers of overdose-related deaths in states where medical cannabis was available were much lower than states where medical cannabis was unavailable.”
Adult-use cannabis in Colorado and Washington hit the 5-year mark
Can you believe it has already been a little over five years since Colorado and Washington legalized recreational cannabis? These states were the first in the nation to legalize cannabis for adult use. Since the move to legalize, the cannabis industry has created thousands of jobs. It has also brought in billions of dollars in revenue. Most of this money in Colorado goes directly to supporting public schools and public health initiatives. Legalization has been such a success in these two states that many states have followed suit. Despite the opposition to legalization forewarning chaos, teen cannabis use in both states has fallen. Arrests have dramatically declined, and traffic fatalities did not increase.
Overall, 2017 was a pretty good year for cannabis. The industry made some significant steps in the right direction. We are so excited to see what the next year will bring!