So how close are we to nationwide legalization of recreational marijuana?
Seriously, how soon before every other state joins Colorado and Washington? Well, according to sources, Alaska and possibly Oregon, will vote this November whether their states will follow in Colorado and Washington’s footsteps and legalize recreation marijuana. Other states like Nevada, California, and Arizona hope to jump on that train as early as 2016, with the hopes that the Presidential election will sway things in a more democratic way, and nudge the legalization of recreational marijuana over the small hump.
It doesn’t even stop there. In over 18 states as well as the District of British Colombia, there have been proposals to treat recreational marijuana like we do alcohol, and 40 states have already loosened their grip on laws regarding pot in the last 5 years. 16 states have already decriminalized marijuana, meaning the punishment for a small amount of weed is more like a slap on the wrist as opposed to jail time.
The most interesting statistic amid all these talks, is that 75% of Americans believe that recreational marijuana will be legalized at some point in the near future. This includes the people who are actually opposed to legalizing weed. In the mid 70’s during their push to erase the stranglehold on recreational marijuana use, the polls were at 30% of the population. So close, but obviously, nothing came to fruition there. This is why the head of the Drug Policy Alliance, Ethan Nadelmann, is torn between opinions of the future of recreational marijuana. “On the one hand we have this extraordinary momentum. On the other, public opinion can be fickle and marijuana is not going to legalize itself.” Mr. Nadelmann brings up a great point, however, as much as I understand this reason for caution, I have to sway towards the changing demographic for being a big reason why this time (as opposed to the 70’s) we might be a bit more successful.
Another argument from anti-marijuana supporters is that the legalization of medicinal marijuana might be the “gateway medicine” for some cancer patients. If I’m understanding this correctly, a cancer patient might say, “To heck with marijuana, lemme try some heroin!” Well, besides the obvious silliness in that notion, there are piles upon piles of research and proof that medicinal marijuana does, in fact, work. Colorado marijuana has been helping in the medicine field for some time now, which opened new doors for their eventual legalization. The same goes for California marijuana as well, although it’s just not quite legal for recreation use, just yet. I guess time will tell. I’ll bet that we’ll see it happen sooner than most might think.