November 6 2012 – a day that will go down in history. Not only was it a very close presidential election (following one of the most aggressive campaigns I can ever remember), but it was also an opportunity for 4 states to approve Marriage Equality (my sister can now marry in our home state!) AND Colorado and Washington approved the legalization of cannabis.
Colorado and Washington have each defined cannabis in their own way, but they basically make the same point. In Washington State, there will be a 1 year period in which to decide on the rules and regulations.
Almost 40 years ago a group called Blossom Seattle was able to put the cannabis issue on a ballot. 20 years after Blossom Seattle we saw the inception of Seattle Hempfest, the world’s largest 3-day hemp rally, with over a quarter million attendees each year – and growing. Our progressive state is making strides and making history – we have legalized a plant that helps many patients, even those with cancer; we have not given up in decriminalizing one of the safest medicines on the planet.
Now, why is this so important to industrial hemp lovers like myself? Initiative 502 opens the door wider toward the next progressive step – allowing industrial hemp farming. Will it happen overnight? No. Because this plant will be heavily regulated, it will take time, and hopefully much ‘adult conversation’ and the realization that this is what we need for our planet, to heal the soil, to provide healthy, organic foods, and to slow down or reverse global warming. Big oil, pharma, and the chemical industries will fight it…but the will of the people is strong. And the need for clean energy and clean products is strong.
How will the federal government respond? Well, technically, the federal level still overrides the state level decisions as far as cannabis is concerned. It remains to be seen if they will take this to the Supreme Court. But for now, we’ve taken an important step on the path to full cannabis and hemp legalization.
Next step – hemp farms? Let’s hope so.