By Rob Kampia
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: In 2015, state legislators considered bills to legalize marijuana in 21 states, decriminalize marijuana possession in 17 states, and legalize medical marijuana in 19 states.
Most of the action in 2015 was aimed at achieving substantial victories in 2016, which is slated to be the most successful year in the history of the movement to end marijuana prohibition.
With this in mind, the Marijuana Policy Project is hereby releasing its top 10 list for 2015. I’m excluding international and scientific developments, instead focusing on policy developments in the United States.
10. Local Decriminalization Measures: In Florida, seven local governments (including Miami-Dade County) opted to allow officers to cite, rather than arrest, adults found in possession of marijuana. And in Michigan, an average of 55% of voters in East Lansing, Portage, and Keego Harbor decriminalized marijuana possession.
9. Everything In Texas: The Texas Legislature and governor’s office — all controlled by Republicans — enacted a bill to allow specially licensed businesses to sell low-THC marijuana to patients with intractable epilepsy, thereby setting the stage for a broader medical marijuana bill to pass in 2017, which is now more possible since a principal opponent of medical marijuana in the state House announced her retirement. Just as significantly, the key House committee passed a pair of bills toremove criminal penalties for marijuana possession and to legalize marijuana like jalapeños; there were enough votes to pass the former bill on the House floor, but the legislature ran out of time.