The Supreme Court in Mexico just ruled that 4 individual plaintiffs could legally grow marijuana for their personal use; but the ruling fell short of outright legalization in that country. Legal experts suspect that the ruling could initiate a trend, however, that would make the cultivation and distribution of marijuana legal in Mexico.
To the North, newly elected Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has promised to make the legalization of marijuana one of his primary parliamentary goals; medical use of marijuana is already legal across Canada.
Here in the United States, however, pot legalization continues to struggle. For example, a legalization initiative for recreational use lost in Ohio on Tuesday.
Among the dozens of presidential hopefuls in the 2016 campaign, only Senator Bernie Sanders has called for the removal of marijuana from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act. Until pot is removed from the Act, legalization really has not chance to succeed here in the U.S.
Complicating removal of marijuana from Schedule 1 are the numerous eradication treaties the U.S. has signed with Latin American countries; a legacy of our failed decades-long "war-on-drugs". That war, relative to marijuana cultivation, has truly failed.
Legalization in California would move the needle significantly. Although the legalization measure on the Cali ballot failed in 2014, it will be on the ballot again in 2016.
In Michigan, two legalization initiatives are currently working their way onto the ballot for 2016. This choice could harm the legalization effort as voters attempt to sort their way through two separate complex proposals.
Our appellate courts have issued over a dozen published opinions interpreting the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.
Ever since its prohibition in the 1920s, the movement for legalization has been slow and painful. Also, there continues to be legitimate debate about the true palliative features of marijuana.
Sometimes, the justification for legalization simply comes down to the argument that it is less harmful than alcohol; alcohol is legal, ergo, marijuana also should be legal. This may not be good enough for the legislatures and the electorates called upon to vote on legalization measures.
Only time will tell...