Why is support for marijuana legalization hitting record heights?

usaflagChristian Science Monitor 21 October 2016
Family First Comment: …. spreading support may be because of the “ethics of tolerance,”: the individualistic attitude that “people think you should be able to do whatever you want as long as you don’t harm somebody else.”

A record number of American citizens support marijuana legalization, according to two new national polls, in a continuation of multi-year trend.

As proponents of legalization proliferate, legislatures are beginning to direct the swell of public opinion to the polls, where four states and the District of Columbia have already legalized recreational marijuana. This November, five more states will put the question of legalization before voters.

Sixty percent of those polled by Gallup this month supported legalization, similar to the 57 percent polled earlier this fall by the Pew Research Center. One decade ago, those numbers were just 35 and 32 percent, respectively, highlighting the sudden groundswell of public support for legalization in recent years.

Legalization in some states also likely played a role in increasing support, which started to grow especially quickly beginning in 2013, when Colorado and Washington state voted to make the drug legal.

According to Father McGowan, gradual acceptance nationwide creates a domino effect. McGowan, who studies the intersection of public policy and business, likens the shift to the cultural acceptance of gambling.

“When states legalized lotteries, it gave the signal to other Americans that there’s nothing wrong with gambling, that as long as it isn’t hurting you, why not let other people do it? So one state after another legalized lotteries,” he says.

A similar trend is occurring with marijuana legalization, he argues. “At least 25 states have medical marijuana. Now, voters in other states are looking at them and saying, ‘Well, it isn’t hurting me. Why not?”

Some states, however, are holding back, as the Monitor has previously reported – and marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance by the federal government, as are cocaine and heroin. The categorization means it has “no current accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” in the eyes of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

“We in the Commonwealth would be better watching and learning from the case study of Colorado for five or six years, rather than just two,” Sen. Viriato deMacedo (R) of Massachusetts, one of nine senators who went on a fact-finding mission to the Boulder State, told the Monitor in May. The trip opened some senators’ eyes to new complications, from pesticides to safety concerns over popular marijuana-infused “edibles.”

“I think if people understand that this not about – ‘Do we want marijuana, yes or no?’ – this is about legalizing an entire industry and people competing about who has the best marijuana,” Sen. deMacedo said. “It’s about money, and I don’t think most people have an understanding of that.”
READ MORE: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2016/1021/Why-is-support-for-marijuana-legalization-hitting-record-heights
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