Even though there was a lot of great news for cannabis enthusiasts across the country, there were also a few moments that weren't so good for the marijuana movement. To remind ourselves that the fight for cannabis legalization continues, here we highlight the five worst marijuana moments of 2017.
1. One of the worst moments for marijuana happened in May of 2017, when Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) vetoed cannabis legalization that would have allowed adults at least 21 years of age to grow and consume the herb for recreation. He defended his decision by saying he would support the bill if three changes are made: that penalties for distribution to minors stay in tact, penalties be drafted for driving while under the influence of marijuana or consuming it around minors, and the creation of a commission to study regulated sales.
2. An error in the $1.1-trillion spending bill approved by Congress in the spring of 2017 was a bad moment for medical marijuana programs in Indiana and North Dakota, as both states were left off a list for being protected from federal anti-drug agents and prosecutors in regards to medical cannabis. Many hope that the Department of Justice won't take advantage of the mistake as a loophole to prosecute cannabis users in those states.
3. One of the worst marijuana moments of 2017 came in February when (then) White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that while the current administration values medical marijuana programs, we will start to see “greater enforcement” of federal regulations against recreational cannabis in states that allow it.
4. A disappointing moment for marijuana in 2017 was when the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), declined to recommend cannabis as an alternative to opioid medicines for managing pain, despite scientific evidence that shows cannabis is effective for controlling pain and studies showing that the number of deaths from opioid overdose decrease in areas where patients have access to medical marijuana.
5. Jeff Sessions being confirmed as Attorney General was one of the worst marijuana moments of 2017. Despite the wealth of information and evidence available to him, Sessions continues to have outdated or misinformed ideas about cannabis that are not in line with how most of America feels about cannabis legalization.