Thanksgiving is this Thursday, which is a day for Americans to get together with family and share all the things they’re thankful for from the past year, while also ignoring the somewhat troubling history of the holiday. For marijuana advocates, 2017 gave many reasons to be thankful. Here are 10 of the best:
1. Nevada Legalizes Recreational Marijuana
After voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, Nevada officially implemented the new law on July 1st. There were some stumbles, with stories coming out about lack of supply at many dispensaries and questions about where people would actually be able to use their cannabis. But at least we can be happy another state got added to the list.
2. New Jersey Elects Pro-Marijuana Governor
After dealing with a Republican in Chris Christie who refuses to acknowledge evidence that marijuana can help fight the opioid crisis, New Jersey voters elected Democrat Phil Murphy, who has promised to legalize cannabis in the first 100 days of when he takes over in January.
3. Jeff Sessions Hasn’t Done Squat
Heading into 2017, the big fear for marijuana advocates was how Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a renowned anti-cannabis crusader, would handle states that legalized the drug. And his strategy has been…nothing! Despite harsh rhetoric, Congress has continued to keep laws in place that prevent Sessions from cracking down on legal marijuana states.
4. And Sessions Got Sued!
Not only has Sessions not done anything when it comes to marijuana, but he’s actually being sued for continuing to classify cannabis as a Schedule I narcotic. That’s gotta be rough…
5. Miley Cyrus Quit Smoking Weed
Now, you’re probably wondering why a prominent celebrity ending their marijuana use would be a good thing for cannabis fans. But let’s face it, many people were pointing to Miley’s increasingly bizarre behavior as proof that marijuana makes people lose their minds. So the next time Miley does something weird, your aunt can’t post on Facebook, “SEE, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU USE THE DEVIL’S CABBAGE!”
6. Colorado Passes $500 Million Milestone in Marijuana Revenue
In the same month (July) where Nevada legalized recreational marijuana, the Colorado government revealed that the state’s collected over $500 million since legal cannabis sales began in 2014. In September, the state also revealed that dispensaries in Colorado had sold over $100 million worth of products in a single month for the first time. So yeah, things are going good there.
7. Teen Marijuana Use Drops to 20-Year Low
Whenever people argue against marijuana legalization, they often say, “Children and teens will begin smoking weed and become losers if legalization occurs!” And it turns out that’s just false. Despite several states legalizing cannabis in recent years, marijuana use amongst teenagers in the United States is at its lowest point in over 20 years. So just another argument you can shoot down during Thanksgiving dinner.
8. Even Republicans Support Legalization Now
Every new poll shows that more and more Americans are supporting marijuana legalization. But last month a survey showed a surprising result. For the first time ever, a majority of Republican supporters said they support legalizing marijuana. Someone tell that to Jeff Sessions!
9. Canada Legalized Recreational Marijuana
Earlier this year the Canadian government legalized recreational marijuana with plans to implement the new law in 2018. Whether you’re a Canadian who lives near a dispensary or an American looking to take a quick trip across the border, this was good news all around.
10. Michigan Will (Probably) Have Marijuana Legalization on the Ballot Next Fall
Just yesterday, pro-marijuana groups submitted signatures to put an initiative on the Michigan ballot next fall to legalize recreational cannabis. While the initiative hasn’t officially been accepted, the groups collected more than 100,000 signatures than legally required, giving them a lot of cushion if the state government tries to invalidate some of their names.
So there’s a lot to be thankful for in 2017, but with California implementing recreational marijuana along with (possibly) Massachusetts and Maine as well as 2018 elections, next Thanksgiving may be even better for marijuana advocates.