2012 â€“ The Year of Change â€“ Did the Mayan calendar predict the end of prohibition of cannabis?
By: Dion Markgraaff
Everyone seems to be giving their interpretation of what the end of the current Mayan calendar in 2012 means. Who really knows, but with the wall of cannabis prohibition cracking globally â€“ could the Mayan calendarâ€™s end coincide with the beginning of the chance at cannabis freedom? With signals of cannabis policies changing around the world, the end of the Mayan calendar cycle could concur with the end of cannabis prohibition.
Switzerland â€“ Starting January 1, 2012, the official personal grow amounts of 4 plants per person will be legal. The country already has relaxed drug law enforcement and almost two decades of waxing and waning of cannabis tolerance.
Czech Republic â€“ The government decriminalized cannabis (up to 15 grams in public) and cultivation of small amounts for everyone in 2009. Recently, they have said they are going to set up a legal medical cannabis national system. In addition, they decided growers of psychedelic cacti and fungi will no longer be a crime, allowing small amounts of cultivation.
Poland â€“ At the end of 2011, the government changed the drug laws to allow prosecutors to send drug users to treatment instead of prison.
Denmark â€“ In November 2011, the city council of Copenhagen voted 39-9 to set up a committee to explore how best to legalize and regulate the sale of cannabis in the Danish capital. The move is supported by Mayor Frank Jensen. â€œWe are thinking of perhaps 30 to 40 public sales houses where the people arenâ€™t interested in selling you more, theyâ€™re interested in you,â€ said Mikkel Warming, the councilman who heads the Social Affairs Committee. â€œWho is it better for youngsters to buy marijuana from? A drug pusher who wants them to use more, who wants them to buy hard drugs, or a civil servant?â€ he asked in remarks reported by the Telegraph (UK). Warming said that while questions remained about how to implement a cannabis sales system, the Dutch model was not one he wanted to follow. â€œWe want to make it a little bit more concrete what kind of decriminalization we want: should it be a public buying system, should there be an age limit?â€ Warming said. â€œWe donâ€™t want an Amsterdam model. We want a way to make it legal to import or grow marijuana so that criminal gangs donâ€™t profit from it,â€ he said.
Colombia â€“ Recently, President Juan Manuel Santos has called for the global legalization of cannabis, but said his country could not be the one to lead the way. â€œThe world needs to discuss new approaches,â€ Santos said. â€œWe are basically still thinking within the same framework as we have done for the last 40 yearsâ€¦.Drug trafficking is what finances the violence and the irregular groups in our country. I would be crucified if I took the first step.â€
Washington State – An initiative to legalize cannabis for everyone over 21 has a great chance of making the November 2012 ballot and passing. The initiative is called a â€œNew Approach Washingtonâ€ and it would set up distribution to adults through state-licensed, cannabis-only stores. The impressive list of supporters include the current Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, Former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington (and the guy who prosecuted Marc Emery) John McKay, Travel program celebrity Rick Steves, State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle), and ACLU of Washington drug policy Allison Holcomb, who is stepping down temporarily to run the campaign.
Colorado – 2012 could be the end of cannabis prohibition in Colorado. Sponsored by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the initiative has a signature process underway to make Coloradoâ€™s November 2012 ballot. The initiativeâ€™s backers include Mason Tvert and SAFER Colorado and Brian Vicente and Sensible Colorado, in addition to the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, NORML, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
California â€“ The people of this great agricultural state might have their second opportunity to legalize cannabis this November after failing to do so in 2010. At least 2 different initiatives (the Repeal Cannabis Prohibition Act and The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012) are positioning their way onto the 2012 ballot.
Other U.S. States â€“ Many places, like New Jersey, Rode Island, and Washington D.C., will establish their first medical cannabis dispensary systems, which will certainly change the political landscape there and in surrounding areas.
Spain â€“ The beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition may have been planted in the Basque region of Spain. This fiercely independent and autonomous area (the home of ETA) has announced that the parliament of Spainâ€™s Basque Country Autonomous Community will approve a new drug law early this year that will regulate cannabis cultivation, distribution, and consumption. â€œItâ€™s better to regulate than to ban,â€ said Jesus Maria Fernandez, second in command at the regionâ€™s health authority. Regulating â€œthe growing, sale, and consumption of cannabisâ€ is a better approach to pot smoking. Regional health authority head Rafael Bengoa echoed his subordinateâ€™s words. â€œWe do not want to be prohibitionists.â€
Hopefully the Mayan calendar is true and we are going to see the end of this old world, starting a new cycle of life. The â€œend of the worldâ€ seems like a great thing considering the state of it today. Never in the history of the world have the people of this planet had such a great opportunity than now. If the wall of cannabis prohibition has come down on December 21, 2012, then this year will truly be remembered as the end of an old era and the start of a new, better world.