2013: The Year In Review – NORML’s Top 10 Events That Shaped Marijuana Policy:
#1 Public Support For Legalizing Marijuana Hits Historic Highs: An unprecedented 58 percent of Americans believe that marijuana ought to be “made legal” for adult consumption, according to survey data reported in October by Gallup. The percentage is the highest level of support ever recorded by Gallup, which has been inquiring on the issue since 1969, and marks a ten percent increase in voter approval since 2012. Regional polls conducted this year in several states, including California, Louisiana, and Texas, also reported majority support for legalization.
#2 Nation Of Uruguay Passes Legislation Regulating Cannabis Use: Lawmakers in the South American nation of Uruguay enacted legislation authorizing the licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to all citizens age 18 and older. Residents will be able to legally purchase up to 40 grams of cannabis per month from state-licensed stores at a price of $1 per gram. Uruguay is the first country in modern history to officially legalize and regulate the licensed production and retail sale of cannabis.
#3 Feds Pledge Not To Interfere In State-Licensed Retail Sales Of Cannabis: Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued a three-page memorandum in August affirming that the US Justice Department will allow Colorado and Washington to move forward with statewide efforts to license and regulate the adult marijuana market. Cole later reaffirmed the agency’s position in testimony before the US Senate, stating, “We will not … seek to preempt state ballot initiatives.”
Read the rest of the list here => NORML 12/26/13
JOBS AND UNEMPLOYMENT
Older Americans Are Getting Booted from Their Jobs and Denied New Opportunities: “In every corner of America, millions of people are terrified of losing their jobs and falling into financial ruin. Men and women with impressive professional achievements and credentials are being let go, nudged out and pushed aside. They are pounding the pavement and scouring the job sites, but find themselves turned away even for the most basic retail jobs. Not because they aren’t competent. Not because they lack skills. But simply because they have a gray hair or two.
“This is not just a story of people in their 60s or 70s. Workers as young as 50 are shocked to find themselves suddenly tossed onto the employment rubbish heap, just when they felt on top of their game. They’re feeling stressed, angry and betrayed by a society which has benefited greatly from their contributions.”AlterNet — 12/22/13
A Lifeline Just Ran Out For 1.3 Million Unemployed People: “On Saturday, federal unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed will expire, leaving 1.3 million people without the support they’ve been relying on as they have searched for new work for about six months or longer.
“The federal program kicked in for those who exhausted their state-level benefits, which usually run out at around 26 weeks. But Congress failed to reauthorize the program before the end of the year, as it has 11 times since it was first enacted in June 2008 under President George W. Bush, so those benefits have run out. Another 850,000 workers who will exhaust their state benefits and would have turned to the federal program in the next three months will also be left without support. In total, more than 4 million people have been out of a job for more than 27 weeks, making up nearly 40 percent of all the unemployed.” — Think Progress 12/28/13
Minimum Wage Workers in 13 States Will Get Automatic Pay Raise: “January 1st marks the start of a new year, and minimum wage workers in over a dozen US states have something to celebrate as they ring in 2014. The minimum wage in 13 states will increase to start out 2014, giving low wage workers in those states an automatic pay raise. In many of the states, workers can thank Democratic legislatures for passing the pay hike. In other states they can thank the voters. Regardless of whether the minimum wage was increased by voter initiative or state lawmakers, the benefits will be immediate for the households that rely on minimum wage jobs to make ends meet.” — PoliticusUSA 12/28/13