Pot Legalization Has Won & It's Very Popular Nationwide
The writing is on the wall; pot will be legal nationwide in the near future. Recent surveys have found very little opposition except among the oldest Americans.
Pew: "As more states, including Virginia and New York, continue to legalize marijuana, an overwhelming share of U.S. adults (91%) say either that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use (60%) or that it should be legal for medical use only (31%). Fewer than one-in-ten (8%) say marijuana should not be legal for use by adults."
Even conservative Republicans are warming to legal pot. In November two states that Donald Trump won, Montana and South Dakota, passed legalization ballot initiatives.
Vox: "This Republican support is also seen in the real world. In the 2020 election, Trump won Montana by 16 points and South Dakota by 26 points. In both states that same year, most voters approved legalization initiatives, with pretty strong margins of around 8 percentage points in South Dakota and 16 percentage points in Montana."
Public opinion has changed quickly on the issue. In 2000, according to the Gallop organization, just 31% of the country backed legalization while 64 percent opposed it. Now it's difficult to find anyone strongly against it. So, what changed? There are many reasons, but these five are probably the most important.
1. The war on drugs has failed and after 50 years few think that it's winnable. Adjusted for inflation, the street price of pot is about the same today as it was 50 years ago.
2. Research over the last few decades has shown pot to be less destructive, less harmful than alcohol. And, the growing use of medical marijuana suggests it has some positive attributes.
3. Jailing folks for pot possession just seems stupid, and expensive. Moreover, the war on pot has been destructive to communities of color, especially in urban areas. Senator Cory Booker made that point in 2018 in an interview with Mic.com;
“If you get convicted, you now have a lifetime sentence, not behind bars, but with a criminal conviction on your record. You have to check boxes when you’re applying for a job. You can’t get a Pell Grant. You can’t get food stamps, public housing ... [or] many business licenses...., “And so as we think on this 4/20 about marijuana, I hope that people don’t just think about, Hey, having open access to the drug, but I hope people think about this being a moral moment in American history and a moment to correct for massive injustices.”
4. We now have a track record with legalization in states like Colorado and Washington and generally the results are encouraging. For instance, the strongest argument against legalization, that it would increase use among adolescents, doesn't seem like much of a problem.
5. Pot production is becoming a substantial industry providing jobs and tax revenues to the states. Marijuana producers are now hiring lobbyists, so you know they aren't going anywhere.
Vox: "There are also major forces that will continue to support legalization and encourage its expansion. The US marijuana industry is now valued at more than $18 billion, supporting the equivalent of over 300,000 full-time jobs, more than the total number of electrical engineers or dentists."
Legalization nationally is still probably a decade off, but it's coming.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content