How the Pot Movement Changed in 2018
This year wasn’t necessarily revolutionary when it comes to marijuana in America, but it was a year marked by numerous states continuing to push the legalization efforts of their neighbors. But supporters still say it was a sea-changing year, in part because between Jeff Sessions being removed as attorney general and the first midwestern state voting to legalize recreational marijuana.
“I think 2018 was the year it crested,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tells Rolling Stone. “It was a terrific year.”
Here, a rundown of how marijuana legalization moved forward in 2018 — and how it sometimes stalled.
Leaders in Washington Began Taking Pot Seriously
Potentially the biggest headline of the year for marijuana was that President Donald J. Trump – who says he despises drugs and abstains from alcohol – reiterated his campaign pledge to allow states to decide their own cannabis policies. He did so at the insistence of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) who vowed to block every nominee for the Department of Justice until he received commitments from the White House that then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions wouldn’t be allowed to go after marijuana businesses in states that had legalized the plant.
Still, with Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, no marijuana provisions were allowed to hit the floor of either chamber of Congress for an up or down vote. But the growing number of pro-cannabis lawmakers of both parties beat back efforts to unwind the Obama-era policy that restricted the federal government from intruding in medical marijuana businesses in states where it’s legal.