Home Legislative What Does Election Day 2018 Mean for the Marijuana Law Reform Movement?

What Does Election Day 2018 Mean for the Marijuana Law Reform Movement?


The marijuana law reform movement enjoyed historic election night victories in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Each of those victories added to the momentum behind the issue that was evident – even in the dark days following the failure of Prop 19 (recreational legalization) in California in 2010.

Tomorrow night, voters in dozens of jurisdictions around the United States will go to the polls and decide on various cannabis issues, and on a statewide level, there are 4 places to keep an eye on: recreational legalization measures are on the ballot in North Dakota and Michigan, while voters in Utah will see one medical marijuana measure and voters in Missouri will be deciding how many they like (or don’t) out of three separate medical cannabis measures.

As I’ve said on Cannabis News, while I’m fairly confident that Prop. 1 will pass in Michigan, I don’t have the same confidence about success in the other 3 states. However, my only reservation about medical marijuana in Missouri is the possible splitting of the vote among the 3 measures.

One thing is for sure: no matter what happens Tuesday night, the marijuana law reform movement cannot let up for a second. Of course, much depends on Congressional races across the country (like whether or not Rep. Pete Sessions, R-TX, keeps his seat). Congress is important because no matter what happens in individual states, counties, towns and cities, unless federal law is changed, any progress made is in jeopardy.

If the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, will they push cannabis law reform? Where will President Trump land on the issue in the wake of the midterm elections?

Whatever success the marijuana law reform movement has on Tuesday night will certainly serve to add more pressure on federal officials and lawmakers to make progress on the issue. But, to be frank, it’s hard to see much hope in a world where Jeff Sessions is still Attorney General, Pete Sessions still rules the House Rules Committee and President Trump is, well, President Trump (i.e. erratic and hard to pin down on individual issues).

As far as predictions on that front go, I do believe we are nearing the end of the reign of AG Sessions. The Pete Sessions race seems to be a toss-up, and President Trump has shown he can be pushed in a certain direction on the issue of cannabis. I think if enough pressure is applied from Congress and from major victories in the states mentioned above, the President may find it easier to go along with prevailing opinion on marijuana and focus his fighting energy elsewhere.

I know, that’s a lot of “ifs”, but if I could predict the future I would have won the billion dollar Mega Millions lottery and someone else would be writing this article. The bottom line is that there can be no letting off the gas when it comes to pushing marijuana law reform. Win, lose, or draw, we must head into 2019 with maximum effort and zero complacency.