Is 2017 the year marijuana finally became completely, and utterly normal?
By the end of this year, over half of the United States will have legalized medical marijuana, with eight states legalizing it recreationally too. Those include California and Massachusetts, both of which have new recreational usage laws going into effect in 2018. The vast majority of people in the country, according to numerous polls, consider it safe and believe in legalization nationwide. Even a surprising number of congresspeople from both sides of the aisle expressed support for medical marijuana this year.
Think things are divided along political party lines? Nope. Along with Democrats, the majority of Republicans now back the legalization of marijuana, a gallop poll showed in October, as well. After big wins in the November election results, we proclaimed "Marijuana wins again!" Sure, there have been rumblings about lax enforcement of Federal marijuana laws out of the current Presidential administration and the Justice Department, but very little has really come of it. Society has changed, even if President Trump and AG Jeff Sessions haven't. Also on the 'law and order' front, drug-sniffing dogs are now being trained not to smell marijuana.
And cannabis has infiltrated popular culture like never before, not as an illegal substance one has to be discrete about but as a perfectly normal lifestyle accessory. The first medical marijuana TV ad aired nationwide. Pot cafes have begun popping up in legalized states. Jack-in-the-Box is marketing directly to stoners with the munchies. And marijuana industry publications weren't the only places with holiday ganja gift guides this year. Rolling Stone had one too.
There was the rather lovely news that marijuana-oriented hotels are set to open shop in Canada come marijuana legalization next year, giving tourists looking for a toke a safe space to get stoned. Then again, those Canadians may be spending more on pot than wine anyways.
There are reports of increasing numbers of pregnant women using it without societal shock and outrage, or even mild tut-tutting. A Forbes report earlier this month didn't compare using marijuana while expecting to the bigger pregnancy no-nos like drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, but to smaller transgressions like eating shellfish or even soft cheeses.
So, the illicit appeal of marijuana is pretty much completely gone, and marijuana might even be verging on... dare we say... being a bit boring?
Okay, that's probably going too far, but not by much. PotNetwork is a marijuana publication after all. In Maine, legal weed sales had begun to slow back in May of this year. In Colorado, not only did the weed apocalypse that hyper-conservatives once warned of not happen, but drug usage has even dropped significantly over the last decade.
Even Miley Cyrus quit smoking pot because she found her work more inspiring without it, she had recurring nightmares of hosting Saturday Night Live stoned, and because she was "spending way too much time with the pig." No, she's not talking about the police. She has a pet pig.
Marijuana is here to stay, and marijuana culture will blossom, but it won't always be the wild, hippy-dippy culture of free love and frolicking in the mary-jane bushes (or with Mary Jane, in the bushes) that legalization advocates once fantasized about. It will look a lot like the culture we have right now. In fact, it already does.