Ballot Initiative VS. Legislation on Marijuana Legalization
Ballot initiative vs. legislation is a major topic when it comes to passing laws in the United States of America. Many people in America are under the presumption that when the people want something they vote for it. In an essence, this is true but does not always apply. Certain states are set up with what is referred to as a ballot initiative. This is where enough registered voters can sign a petition forcing a public vote to occur. This is how recreational marijuana legalization happened in the state of Colorado. States such as Washington State, Alaska, and Oregon have also legalized recreational marijuana via ballot initiative.
Collecting Names and Organizing Them All
The process of gathering signatures from registered voters is one that is brought to life by passionate activists. Countless hours are spent by volunteers collecting these signatures as well as organizing them in order to be presented in an official legal document at a later time. Michigan is currently pushing for marijuana legalization on a recreational scale and has been gathering signatures for some time. They now have more than 240,000 signatures and will be placed on the 2016 ballot for marijuana legalization. The support that these signatures show for marijuana legalization solidifies the exponential growth in the cannabis sector.
California Makes Leaps and Bounds in Marijuana Legalization Efforts
California is a prime example of where a ballot initiative will help to pass marijuana legalization in and end marijuana prohibition in the state. California has a population of over 39 million people. Most polls show that over 54% of Californians support marijuana legalization. That’s more than 22 million people who would vote in favor of ending marijuana prohibition in the state of California. The amount of money the state of California could stand to bring in from the legalization of marijuana on a recreational scale would be monumental. Consider that Colorado has a population of roughly 5.4 million people. Cannabis sales in Colorado topped $996 million in 2015. If California was to go on the same level of sales that Colorado did based on the number of people that means California would bring in an estimated $7 billion a year to start.
Big Dollars Are Turning Heads
The cannabis industry brought in more than $5.4 billion in 2015 and is estimated that there is no slowdown in growth in sight anywhere. Matter of a fact by 2020 many are predicting the cannabis industry to be worth an estimated 35 billion dollars a year or better. The United States of America has an estimated population of 318 million + people. Take the number of people from Colorado being 5 million estimated and look at Colorado bringing in nearly a billion dollars a year from marijuana sales. If you took the 318 million people living in the United States, that would be the equivalency of having 63.6 “Colorados”. If each one of those “Colorados” brought in a billion dollars a year from cannabis sales the United States of America could stand to make an average of 60 + billion dollars a year if marijuana was legal everywhere on a recreational level.
Power is With the People
This is the power of a ballot initiative. A state with 39 million people can definitely tip the scales in favor of cannabis when it comes to marijuana legalization. Florida and many other states are set to make moves with ballot initiatives in 2016. This will set the groundwork for reaching a point to wear when half of the United States of America has recreational marijuana laws the entire country will have to adopt these laws as well. Marijuana prohibition is nearing an end, and even states that are set up with legislation instead of ballot initiative are set for recreational marijuana legalization. Take for example Texas and Vermont.
Vermont Really is the Green Mountain State
Vermont is set up to operate under legislature. What this means is a group of elected officials make the decisions on bills and laws that come in front of them. It is up to the people in this instance to convince a committee that the law or bill is needed. Upon convincing the committee, on the bill or law, it then moves to the House. The house will review the circumstance at hand and make their decision. Once the House approves the law or bill, it must then go through one final process. This process is the governor’s approval. In the state of Vermont, marijuana legalization has been a long road that the political leaders there have watched very closely.
Stepping Towards Responsible Marijuana Reform
While the rest of the United States, for the most part, has the ability to place marijuana legalization on the ballot for 2016 Vermont is leaps and bounds ahead of them and they are running on legislation. The political leaders in the state of Vermont are not driven by their own ideals and private agendas. Instead they listen to the ideas of the citizens. Governor Peter Shumlin of the state of Vermont commissioned the RAND Corporation to study the complete effects of marijuana legalization in the state of Colorado. This commissioned report covered all aspects. By taking the guesswork out and presenting the facts responsible marijuana reform laws are in the near future for citizens in the state of Vermont.
All By Myself
Vermont is setting up for recreational marijuana legalization on their own. They are not receiving support from the Marijuana Policy Project like Colorado and Texas. The Marijuana Policy Project or the MPP has setup base in Texas. They have done this because they have centered their attention on marijuana legalization in the state of Texas by 2019. They established their base of operations in Austin Texas back in 2014 when they reveal their five-year plan for marijuana legalization. So far a CBD-only law has been passed in the state of Texas, and that is just the beginning of marijuana legalization.
An Issue That’s as Big as Texas
By 2017, Texas is set to have legal medical marijuana dispensaries open and accessible to the public. As more people encourage legislators to favor marijuana legalization in the state of Texas, the momentum has begun to shift. Austin Texas’s move supporting the decriminalize of small amounts of marijuana is a major win for those who support cannabis legalization. Many believe that House Bill 507 will simply go to committee where it will stay. The chance of this becoming a solidified bill anytime soon is not likely in the eyes of many. This would be because Texas has a deeply conservative legislature. Tiny steps will ultimately lead to the end of marijuana prohibition in the state of Texas. Due to the size of the state of Texas, many considerations must be taken into thought when writing the language for marijuana reform laws. Laws cannot pass quick enough for those who are in desperate need of whole plant therapy.
We Need Real Laws Not Acts
CBD only treatments do not work, and the Compassionate Care Act is exactly what it’s called an act. It is an act designed by certain politicians to give the appearance that they care to the public. If they truly cared little girls like Alexis Bortell would not have to leave their home and become a medical refugee in their own country. The importance of influencing legislation in the state of Texas to support responsible marijuana reform is of extreme importance for many. The MPP has made this their mission, and they are working with lawmakers in Texas to write the language for responsible marijuana reform laws.
The People Have Spoken Now It’s Time for Our Political Leaders to Listen
When it comes to Legislature VS. Ballot Initiative, the process can get confusing. Both systems are set to work. Ballot Initiative’s however, usually work much faster than a legislature does. While many are looking at the economic impacts of marijuana legalization, let us not forget there are those who are also dying while waiting for help. Wake up and stop our soldiers and children from suffering by helping to educate the planet as to the facts about marijuana and its amazing medical abilities. Lives can be saved as well as a planet. Go green and support the cannabis and hemp industries. We have a chance at a healthier, happier, greener, tomorrow through marijuana legalization.