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The Biggest Marijuana Stories of 2019

Image Courtesy of Bill Griffin

Much like the last seven years, 2019 was a big year in the cannabis community. With the legal marijuana industry spreading and growing, some of the biggest policy victories yet happened in 2019.

For Morgan Fox, Media Relations Director for The National Cannabis Industry Association, one of the biggest stories of the year was “[t]he overwhelming bipartisan approval of the SAFE Banking Act in the House of Representatives. This was the first time the House had voted on, let alone approved, a standalone cannabis policy reform bill, and a huge win for the perceived legitimacy of the legal cannabis industry in Congress.”

Morgan also cited the “House Judiciary Committee approving the MORE Act. This was the first time that this powerful committee voted on a bill to deschedule cannabis, and it included a number of provisions to help repair the damage done by prohibition policies over the last century. This represents a huge step forward in how lawmakers are discussing this issue, and shows an increasing recognition of the racially and economically disparate enforcement of marijuana laws.”

Mason Tvert, formerly of the Marijuana Policy Project and currently Vice President, Communications at VS Strategies, also listed the movement on the SAFE and MORE Acts as huge this year. Morgan and Mason also agreed on legalization in Illinois as one of the biggest stories of the year, while Mason also mentioned stories like the “U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security…hearing on ‘Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform.’ It was the first congressional hearing in history to examine cannabis in the context of ending prohibition.”

“The Democratic presidential field has almost entirely come out in support of major cannabis policy reforms,” Morgan told The Marijuana Times, switching to the Presidential race. “This has traditionally been a third-rail issue on the national political stage, but this year we not only saw candidates openly and eagerly addressing it, but generally strongly in support of ending the government’s war on cannabis. This seems indicative of a larger cultural shift away from the historical stigma that cannabis and its consumers have suffered under.”

Mason listed the vaping crisis and USDA regulations on hemp cultivation and production among the big stories of 2019. And as cliché as it is to say it, it’s looking like 2020 is already shaping up to be a huge year for the movement with activity at the state level on multiple fronts. It may turn out to be a down year federally, as the focus will be on the Presidential election and the aftermath of impeachment, but many historic victories could be won by year’s end.

And we’ll be here to follow it all and bring the big stories to you!