mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn bayles
Reefer Madness
Support for Legal Weed Reaches New High

In 2014, with the successful pot-legalization push well underway in a handful of states, it looked like the public might be starting to have second thoughts: The Gallup tracker showed nationwide approval of legalization efforts fell sharply, from 58 to 51 percent. But in 2015, support ticked back up to 58, and now, according to a recently-released poll, a record three in five Americans support making the drug legally available for recreational use.uu5e1ycj_kqf1dim_mvmewAs Gallup notes, marijuana legalization initiatives are on November ballots in five states. If the pro-pot forces sweep, the number Americans who can smoke a blunt without fear of prosecution will quintuple. Is it Gary Johnson’s world?

Not necessarily. First of all, the policy debate over marijuana doesn’t end with the declaration that the drug should be “legal.” There are many other questions, many of which will also be fraught and complex: How heavily should the drug be taxed? Should the state have a monopoly on its sale? If not, how will the state regulate corporate marketing? As we’ve noted, decriminalization of some kind may be the worst policy except all others. But regulations should be designed to keep prices high, discourage dependency, and block the emergence of a politically powerful marijuana industry. (Legislators would do well to read Mark Kleiman’s & co.’s prescriptions on this front).

Second, the fading of legal prohibitions on marijuana use may give rise to new social sanctions. For example, employers might drug test their employees, landlords might restrict the use of pot on their properties, courts might consider drug use as a criterion in child custody cases, and frequent toking might become a roadblock to enrolling in college or receiving government aid.

Americans seem to have made up their mind that you shouldn’t go to jail for smoking weed. But many other questions about how to manage the drug have yet to be answered conclusively, and likely won’t be for some time.

Features Icon
show comments
  • LarryD

    Once the legal sanctions are gone, the marijuana lobby will argue against all non-legal sanctions. Wait and see.

    • Jim__L

      It depends entirely whether marijuana is successfully associated with Smoking (and its baneful effects) in the minds of most Americans.

      As far as polls go, considering how hostile and aggressive MJ pollsters are (after telling a door-to-door petitioner I don’t sign door-to-door petitions, he shouted at me through my door for a few minutes before walking away), I wouldn’t be surprised if these polls were nonsense.

      Most polls are probably nonsense these days, to be honest. Once something becomes known as a metric for decision-making, people start to game it and it loses its informational value.

  • John Schwartz

    Here’s a radical idea: grow whatever plants you want. Do with them as you please, sell them, burn them, eat them, twist their fibers into rope. If you harm others, suffer just and proportionate consequences. We can call this radical idea, “freedom.”

    The two Americans in five who oppose freedom can move to North Korea. There they can live as they please, in slavery to the state.

  • Angel Martin

    Instead of beating your head against the wall, complaining about the corruption, misgovernment and failure of America’s elites, sit back, man, take a toke, the Establishment wants you to feel good !

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service