The latest poll numbers, from NBC and the Wall Street Journal, are in: 55% of Americans say "they favor allowing regulated businesses to sell marijuana." What's the holdup?
This is not even "medical marijuana," that familiar canard, that we're talking about here. This is a solid ten-point majority of Americans saying, for months now, they favor legal weed—weed that is taxed and regulated and sold to adults, just like alcohol is. This is a solid ten-point majority of Americans expressing a desire for sanity in this corner of the War on Drugs. This is an acknowledgment of common sense.
The details of the poll are predictable: huge majorities of young people and Democrats favor legal marijuana, along with minorities of older people and Republicans. Still, consider the fact that the two demographic groups most opposed to legalization—people over the age of 65, and Republicans—both register 38% support. The very fact that almost four out of ten old Republicans want America's ridiculous prohibition of weed to end is perhaps the most telling data point of all.
The entire debate over medical marijuana was (let's be honest) in essence just a waiting game. It was a way for the rational, common sense, and ethical movement to legalize and regulate weed to wait until the public finally came around to the overwhelming rightness of their position. That time has come. States are legalizing it on their own. Must we wait for every state in the union to take it upon themselves to bring their drug policies into the realm of sanity? Or might our esteemed leaders in Washington decide make themselves useful for a change? The tone of the media has evolved to one of tacit acceptance of weed's relatively harmless nature. The time when a politician admitting to smoking weed was considered a serious political issue seems very long ago. The president of the United States has all but acknowledged that marijuana prohibition is absurd.
Thirty two years ago, John Kerry testified to Congress about the Vietnam war, and asked, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Now, John Kerry and his peers run the country. And every day, Americans are arrested for breaking marijuana laws that were foolish and unjust on the day they were made. It ain't Vietnam, but it is a mistake. The public has made its will clear. Stop twiddling your fucking thumbs, Congress. This is stupid.
Legalize it, already.