Last week, South Carolina’s state senate passed a bill that will legalize medical cannabis. In Connecticut, they are worrying that demand will outstrip supply when recreational weed becomes officially available for purchase later this year. There’s no doubt about it, the legalization steamroller is running at full speed.
In fact, many would argue that the US is at something of a tipping point. Around three-quarters of US states have now legalized medical weed, and while fewer have gone all the way legalizing it for recreational use, that number is also rising. Seeing New York fully legalize last year seemed to be the deciding factor for many states that had been sitting on the fence.
Federal law – the outlier?
The fact that cannabis remains illegal under federal law seems increasingly incongruous during these changing times. The MORE Act has been making slow progress through the federal legislative system in an attempt to decriminalize, but this effort is likely to be given new impetus thanks to a new political action committee.
The Better Organizing to Win Legalization Political Action Committee, known even more poetically as BOWL PAC launched on February 8th with the stated aim of putting pressure to bear in seeing federal cannabis laws reformed. It aims to do this by lending support to pro-reform officials and candidates and by pushing other pro-reform groups to be more proactive in their campaigning and lobbying.
BOWL PAC has one of the world’s most seasoned cannabis advocates at its helm. Justin Strekal has been a constant presence on Capitol Hill over the past decade lobbying for change in federal laws on cannabis and just stepped down as Political Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
A buoyant industry
They don’t call it green gold for nothing. Over the past couple of years, good news stories relating to the US economy have been few and far between, but the cannabis sector has been a beacon of light. If you look at a site like cannaconnection.com you get a sense of how vibrant the industry is with new strains being developed on a regular basis.
At state level, the tax benefits alone form an argument in favor of legalization that is hard to argue with. Meanwhile, President Biden famously said on the campaign trail that “nobody should be in jail over marijuana.” In short, the federal prohibition seems increasingly out of step with the real world of 2022.
Heading for the polls
Strekal said that in forming a PAC, he can leverage resources that were underutilized at NORML. Reading between the lines that means one thing – playing the politics game for all its worth. In this respect, the 2022 election will be a vital battleground in which Strekal and the BOWL PAC will “engage tactically in a number of races to ensure that voters, who may or may not be motivated to go to the polls” will know that their choice of candidates could be decisive in achieving legal reform.