Via Gallup, a majority now favors marijuana legalization for the first time ever

This happened in South America yesterday (or rather, news broke yesterday), and now, for the first time in 44 years of polling about this topic in the U.S., it appears a majority of citizens — via Gallup, and outside the margin of error — approve legalization of marijuana. Here’s the entire Gallup entry on the subject, which has much more detailed breakdowns — for example, 38 percent of Americans are now admitting to trying the drug, 35 percent of admitted Republicans are now in favor (creeping ever so steadily upward, year-by-year), and there’s even a 56-to-40 yes split in the 50-to-64 age bracket now.

Marijuana legalization has been a long, oft-winding road; one of the central arguments you likely heard as a child was that it was a “gateway drug,” meaning it would open you to a world of much worse shit that’s out there in the universe. Nowadays, that’s seen as more of a myth; even Sanjay Gupta changed his mind on the weed topic recently. Indeed, public attitudes have shifted quickly on marijuana. As recently as 2006, half of Americans polled referred to pot as “morally wrong;” this past April, a majority claimed it “wasn’t a moral issue.” It’s beyond being a criticized element, and now it’s a movement and a cottage industry.

I’m not some super-crazy liberal, but I’ve always thought marijuana should be legalized, controlled, and taxed out the wazoo. The ‘war on drugs’ is essentially a farce, because — best I can tell — if people want weed, cocaine, or some other drug, they’re going to get it. Someone will provide them a way. The DEA needs to seriously reconsider federal policy, and pot would be a good place to start. In fact, for many reasons (including positive economic impact, and removing a major cash staple of cartels), you can argue that legalizing marijuana is, in fact, now morally right (the exact opposite of the argument for about two decades). 

If a majority favor, then we need to honestly think about ….

It seems like the major attitude remaining against legalized marijuana is the common “WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?” argument, and the whole notion of a ‘drug czar’ (which the US doesn’t presently appear to have). This video outlines some of the health arguments against marijuana, to boot:

It may be time for all this to change, honestly. Our economy isn’t doing great, and maybe this could help in some small way. I realize that many still in opposition (now a minority, at least via Gallup) associate it with the counter-culture movements of the 1970s that supposedly led to the decline of personal responsibility, but it seems we have bigger issues as a nation now — and many of the central arguments have been debunked. Let’s legalize it, regulate it, tax it, create an industry, and profit off it. Isn’t that what helps make America great?

Ted Bauer