(NaturalNews) With Washington and Colorado set to make history by ending cannabis prohibition for adults beginning in January, momentum is building at an unprecedented rate for many other states to follow suit in the coming months and years. And to help them along is a major groundswell of public support, backed by at least four major cannabis advocacy groups that are working tirelessly to restore freedom for all Americans to buy, sell and grow all natural cannabis.
As you may recall, 2012 was a big year for cannabis in the U.S. Voters in both Colorado and Washington passed referendums to legalize recreational marijuana in their states, and a handful of others passed laws recognizing the legal use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, bringing the total number of supportive states to 18, plus the District of Columbia. Nearly half the country, in other words, has now decriminalized cannabis in some considerable way, which advocates are hopeful will lead to an even greater snowball effect in 2014.
According to The Atlantic
, interest among politicians all across the country in ending cannabis prohibition in their own states has surged in the past year. What was previously regarded as an issue only pertinent to so-called "stoners" and hippies looking to get high has garnered a whole new level of legitimacy in the mainstream -- people everywhere, whether they use cannabis or not, are recognizing that the plant is useful as both medicine and food, and is not the dangerous drug they were taught to believe by corrupt social engineers.
"We have a bunch of stereotypes about the marijuana
movement and lobbying effort as a bunch of college kids who want to smoke weed," says John Hudak, a governance studies fellow at the Brookings Institution
who is pleased with the changes sweeping the country. "The marijuana lobby is coming out of the shadows from this avant-garde movement to people who are thinking about legalization in a very rational, serious, and empirical way."
Most Americans want to end cannabis prohibition
According to the latest available figures, public support for ending cannabis prohibition is at an all-time high. While roughly half the country believed smoking pot was morally wrong back in 2006, only 32 percent today view cannabis
use in this light. At the same time, more than half the country today is supportive of legalizing marijuana nationwide, whether they use it themselves or not.
"Marijuana legalization has gone from something very abstract and something you may have supported to something very real and also possible. And it's happening," says Erik Altieri, director of communications for NORML, one of the leading cannabis advocacy groups pushing for cannabis freedom across the U.S.
As far as 2014 is concerned, many more states are poised to legalize marijuana for recreational use, including California and Alaska, where more voters than not are ready to scrap prohibition
. Other states on the verge of legalization include Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Oregon, all of which have either pending legislation or voter referendums waiting in the wings to legalize cannabis.
"The year 2014 will be a big year," says Altieri, adding that "it's just going to keep getting bigger."
You can keep up with the work of NORML, as well as support (or start) a local NORML advocacy chapter in your own city or town, by visiting:http://norml.org
The Marijuana Policy Project, another prominent cannabis advocacy group, is another great resource for working towards abolishing cannabis prohibition:http://www.mpp.org
.Sources for this article include:http://www.theatlantic.comhttp://www.huffingtonpost.comhttp://norml.orghttp://www.mpp.org