An increasing number of American adults now believe that the marijuana should be legal. This majority even includes voters from all the factions – Republicans, Democrats and Independents. The nationwide polling data also reveals that Americans have come to embrace cannabis and the effects of cannabis.
The percentage of Americans that support the legalization of recreational and medical uses of cannabis is the highest since 1969. Also, this is the first time ever that such a vast majority of Republican voters have so openly supported the legalization of marijuana.
The Rapid Evolution of American Opinion on Marijuana
More than 20 years ago, in 1996, California was the only state to pass and implement an act to regulate marijuana as medicine. Astoundingly, it was only 25% of voters on a national level that did support such legalization. Come 2012, 16 years later, Washington and Colorado went to the extent of legalizing marijuana for medical as well as recreational uses. The national scenario – only 48% Americans supported the view. Today, in 2017, a whopping 94% voters on a national level think that medical uses of cannabis should be legalized. And, a good 64% of voters think that marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use by all American adults.
At large, the scenario is that most adult Americans want the federal government to bow down in the favor of marijuana. There is, in fact, wide consensus on the opinion that the state government should be granted the autonomy to regulate the laws regarding the legalization and use of marijuana.
What the Congressmen Opine about the Effects of Cannabis
When it comes to the members of Congress, the opinion is not quite supportive as that of the voters. As little as 5% (or even lesser) members of the Congress air their support for legalization of cannabis as medicine as well as for recreation. And, that is a figure revealed by NORML’s Congressional Scorecard
This lack of support is rampant among the members of the Congress, and the Republicans more so. If we talk from a legal point of view, the cannabis plant falls in the same category as heroine, and its regulation is even more stringent than coke or meth.
There are several bills that remain pending for address and approval. However, looking at the present scenario that the Republican leadership presents, neither the House nor the Senate is likely to permit a committee vote for a more liberal policy than the present one. A perfect example is United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ opinion “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Sessions is actively lobbying for the crackdown by the administration on the states that permit production and use of marijuana as medicine and for recreation.
What Ought to Be
What America needs is a pragmatic approach to regulation the marijuana industry. With such enlightening revelations that present the effects of cannabis in its true (noble and harmless) light, a just policy is needed. We need a policy of balance – one that not only allows legal growing, processing and retail of marijuana but also educates the people and restrict its use to risk-free limit.