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Is America’s Growing Support For Marijuana Going To Help Get It Legalized Anytime Soon?

Submitted by on October 24, 2011 – 2:50 pm6 Comments

I think one of the most boring debates in the world is whether or not marijuanashould be legalized. Ever since I was in college—where I frequently had to debate things in class and write papers where I took a stance—the legalization of marijuana and abortion have been the two go-to topics for students and teachers alike. As a result, it almost doesn’t matter what you think on either subject, because they are two of those subjects where just about everyone has a clear-cut opinion and no matter what arguments you make about them during a debate, those opinions don’t tend to change.

That said, I do have to say that I’m a little surprised at how open many Americans are to legalizing cannabis. For the record, I honestly don’t have a horse in this race. I don’t smoke weed, so I don’t see the need for it to be legalized to the point where it’s sold in convenience stores around the country. But I do realize that it may have a medical use, so maybe it should be readily available for people out there to use as they see fit. I’m not particularly opinionated in either direction. However, America is.

Surprisingly, America is becoming more and more pro-marijuanathese days. In fact, a record 50 percent—yes, that’s half of the country—now favors legalizing marijuanause, while just 46 percent think it should remain illegal (I guess I fall into that remaining four percent?). That’s up four percent from just last year and a clear indication that more Americans are open to the idea of marijuana becoming legal.

Does that mean that marijuanawill be legalized anytime soon? Eh, not likely. As usual, the Gallup poll that discovered the 50 percent figure also found out that most Americans over the age of 65 still strongly oppose legalizing marijuana. Likewise, conservatives and Republicans are also still opposed to legalizing it, too. And the majority of those who responded favorably to legalizing weed are those who fall into the 18-29 age group. And while those folks do vote for laws pertaining to marijuana, they have very little say when it comes to actually drafting up bills that could one day change America’s official stance on ganja.

Still, if these figures are any indication, I don’t see how Mary Jane won’t be legal one day in my lifetime. I think that it’ll be regulated to the fullest extent and, most likely, you’ll need some type of prescription or official document to get it legally. I don’t foresee my kids or my grandkids being able to freely buy it at the corner store. Not yet, at least. However, America is clearly becoming more and more open to the idea of legalizing the stuff. And as all of those people who support legalizing it grow up and don’t see marijuanaas such a bad thing, they’ll be in a better position to see that it gets decriminalized.

For now, though, all of you out there who like to puff, puff, pass will just have to wait. You’ll have to wait for that 50 percent to grow to 53 percent, 58 percent, 65 percent, 71 percent, and eventually 80 or 90 percent. It’ll happen. Eventually. It’s only a matter of time before weed is just as legal as liquor and cigarettes (in fact, can’t you picture a time and place in which weed is more legal than cigarettes?). But, for now, all of you college kids out there debating the legalization of pot will have to make do with the fact that American support for the green stuff is growing. As for me, I’m on to debate something else. Until the government gets more serious about legalizing marijuana or shuts down the idea completely, this debate is still boring to me.

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  • V Cardellini says:

    Obama made campaign promises, but lets be real. Congress fights him on EVERYTHING! Legalizing weed would be dead before the bill was printed. Help Obama. Right now only 73,000 people have signed Obama’s official petition on the White House web site. https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions . You have to be willing to sign your name to the most popular petition of 180 open petitions if you want Obama to put his name to it. There should be millions of names.

  • Here’s the problem with the majority of arguments regarding marijuana out there. Somehow people just skip over the bigger picture and jump into focusing on details – about their, their friends’, their children’s personal experiences with marijuana. “What role should government play in dictating our health, lifestyle, and morality?” To what degree should government be telling us how to live our lives? At what point has government impinged on our rights to freedom? Maybe you’re comfortable with government controlling these aspects of your life but should you vote in favor of legislation that controls other people’s lives as well? If you’re going to impose community standards then at what level of government is it fair for these rights to be determined? Federal, State, Local?
    Currently the legality of marijuana is a blanket federal prohibition. Regardless of state law marijuana is classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drug meaning it has absolutely ZERO medicinal value. In some states local law contradicts that allowing medical marijuana for those in need. But due to the Supremacy Clause marijuana (even in those states where it is prescribed) the substance remains federally illegal. There is legislation that has been drafted called H.R. 2306 – The Ending Federal Prohibition of Marijuana Act of 2011. It essentially leaves the legislating and enforcement of marijuana laws up to the states. It limits federal government law to cross-border trafficking.
    The author of this article doesn’t even differentiate the difference between federal and state law…and I think Scav is overly pessimistic in the repeal of prohibition. Honestly the subject matter of this article is a sign that the author is behind the times. The federal prohibition of marijuana WILL be repealed. The conversation needs to evolve to – How will it affect society? How should it be legalized – through federal or state regulation? How will the distribution work? Small-time marijuana grower genetics vs what Monsanto will genetically engineer / patent.
    I didn’t use marijuana until I was way passed 21. I bought into the drug’s demonization as the 46% have. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was brainwashed into believing it was dangerous, addictive, and would ruin my life. I’m glad I had a good friend disabuse me of that notion. For those that haven’t tried it – the drug enhances experience. It makes food taste better, sex feels amazing, you start to see value in music that you couldn’t before. It is less dangerous and less addictive than alcohol. If I want to enhance mine and my wife’s Friday night sex marathon followed by the best Ben and Jerry’s Half-Baked we’ve ever eaten while listening to Pumped Up Kicks like you’ve never heard it before then that is my right. Everyone should fight for these rights even if they don’t intend to indulge themselves. A growing percentage of people understand that concept. Horse or no horse – the author should too.

  • BigJohn says:

    Scav, you’re right that support will have to grow a lot more before politicians get behind legalization, but all the way to 80 or 90%? Nah. Just watch what happens in the coming years. As more polls come out showing majority support, you’ll see more politicians coming out for legalization. You’ll see a major shift in the 65 and older crowd’s views as well, as more of the older folks in that demographic die off and are replaced by Baby Boomers. According to the poll data, already 49% of those 50 through 64 support legalization, and that will only grow. While support among those who identify themselves as Republicans and conservatives is still pretty low, it’s grown a lot in that crowd and will continue to grow, both because of the “age out” factor and just because more and more people are realizing that we aren’t stopping anything with our laws but instead are doing more harm than good. Support is growing for people of all ages, genders and political affiliation.

    I’m betting we see legalization at the federal level before the end of the next decade. It might even happen by the end of this decade and is likely to happen in the first half of the next decade. Support has been growing since the early 1990s and should continue to grow. In ten years, there will be millions more senior citizens who have smoked pot, and probably a couple of million who still do. That’s going to change things, when we start seeing a bunch of old people in trouble for supplimenting their Social Security with money they’re making growing weed in their closets and gardens.

  • BigJohn says:

    Also, it is not accurate to say that “the majority of those who responded favorably to legalizing weed are those who fall into the 18-29 age group.” Support is highest among that group, but the majority of people 30 through 49 support it too and there are quite a few more of them than there are people 18 through 29. More support it than oppose it in the 50 to 64 age group too. There are several times as many supporters older than 29 as there are supporters 18 through 29, even if the per capita percentage of older people who support legalization isn’t as high as it is for the 18 to 29 age group.

    Want to play with some fun numbers? Look at the average age of people in Congress and the Senate. Look at the average age of committee heads in these lawmaking bodies as well. They’re old as the hills. The vast majority of the committee heads grew up when no one was smoking pot. But look at SAMHSAs lifetime marijuana use rates for those currently in their 50s and early 60s. Notice also that males who went to at least some college are more likely than others to have smoked it. What you’ll conclude is that for the first time in history we’re about to hit a time when most of the movers and shakers in our federal lawmaking bodies will be people who have most likely smoked pot. These are the guys who decide which bills make it to the floor for a vote. These are the elders in both parties who pretty much set party policy.

  • ConservativeChristian says:

    Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. None of us would want our child thrown in jail with the sexual predators over marijuana. None of us would want to see an older family member’s home confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants for their aches and pains. It’s time to stop putting our own family members in jail over marijuana.
    If ordinary Americans could grow a little marijuana in their own back yards, it would be about as valuable as home-grown tomatoes. Let’s put the criminals out of business and get them out of our neighborhoods. Let’s let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards.
    You can email your Congressperson and Senators at http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml to discuss HR 2306, the bill that would repeal Federal prohibition.
    And a big THANK YOU to the courageous, freedom loving legislators, governors, and countless others who are working so hard to bring this through! You’re doing a great patriotic service for all of America!

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