The latest Gallup poll has revealed that the country’s feelings about marijuana are definitely changing. Support for the legalization of marijuana has risen from 60 percent of the country last year to 64 percent in this year’s poll. Even the sentiment from Republicans is reflecting this national shift in attitude. The poll revealed that 51 percent of people who consider themselves Republican support the end of prohibition and the legalization of marijuana. The number has risen from last year when only 42 percent were in favor of legalization. This total is a vast change in opinion from 2011’s poll that showed only 50 percent support for the legalization of the plant. Since then, there has been a steady increase in support as the states with legal marijuana show just how successful regulation can be.
The Tide Progressively Shifting in Favor of Legalization
8 states and the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., have all ended prohibition and decided to regulate the plant in the same way that alcohol is regulated. In the states with an active legal industry, crime has been reduced, opioid use and overdoses are down, teen use has not been impacted in any way, jobs have been created and tax revenue has been generated to help schools and the community at large. The success of these initiatives has led to a trend towards ending prohibition in other states across the country. At least 18 other states are expected to present legislature in 2018’s legislative sessions that would allow marijuana to be regulated like alcohol. Vermont was the first state to approve the legalization of marijuana through legislature this year. However, the bill was vetoed by the governor.
“It Makes Sense”
“It makes sense that support for ending marijuana prohibition is increasing,” said Morgan Fox, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Americans are tired of wasting resources arresting hundreds of thousands of individuals every year for using a substance that is safer than alcohol. In the 5 years since the first states made marijuana legal for adults, it has become increasingly clear that—unlike prohibition—regulation works. Adult-use marijuana laws create jobs, generate tax revenue, and protect consumers while taking the marijuana market out of the hands of criminals.”
Department of Justice Resistance
Unfortunately, the Department of Justice, headed by long time, vocal prohibitionist Jeff Sessions is not supportive of this view. He urged District Attorneys to seek the highest possible penalties for drug related charges earlier this year, called marijuana only slightly less awful than heroin and is known for saying that “good people don’t use marijuana.” He sent a letter to Congress earlier this year asking them to remove financial restrictions so that he could crack down on medical marijuana as well as blocking the forward movement towards medical marijuana research. His general approach reflects a combination of the Reagan’s failed “Just Say No” campaign to reduce drug use and reefer madness propaganda.
Nonetheless, the majority of the country is in favor of legalization and advocates continue their pursuit to end the prohibition of the plant and regulate it in the same way that alcohol is regulated.