The number has reached an all-time high in terms of support after almost half a century since the first time adults were surveyed regarding this issue. Gallup reported that the majority of Americans are backing the legalization of marijuana use across the entire political spectrum. Approximately 66% of Independents, 71% of Democrats, and 50% of Republicans declared that they are on board. For the last five years, voters from eight states of the US, including District of Columbia, gave their approval on the legalization.
According to Drug Policy Alliance's executive director, Maria Sanchez-Moreno, the legalization of marijuana is more popular than president Trump and Jeff Sessions. The legalization, she thinks, will even survive them both.
"Instead of putting the limited resources of law enforcement to waste in the pursuit of stopping successful legalization initiatives, the officials of the country should heed to the bipartisan message that the public is trying to send them. They should also support the federal reform on marijuana," exclaimed Sanchez-Moreno.
By focusing on public health instead of counterproductive marijuana arrests, US states that have successfully legalized marijuana have been able to diminish most of the harm that comes with the nation's war on drugs. What's more, they have managed to raise a substantial amount of new revenue. A report from Drug Policy Alliance found that Oregon, Alaska, Colorado, and Washington have greatly benefitted from a huge decrease in arrests and conviction involving marijuana. They have also increased tax revenues because marijuana possession is now legal. What’s even more impressive is the fact that all these states didn't experience an increase in the use of marijuana from the youth including traffic fatalities.
In 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first two states that spearheaded the ending of marijuana prohibition. Both also regulated legal production of marijuana as well as the distribution and sales. During the 2014 election, Oregon and Alaska followed suit. Washington D.C., on the other hand, passed a limited measure on legalized possession and marijuana home cultivation. In 2016, the voters from Maine, California, Nevada, and Massachusetts joined in on legalizing and regulating marijuana, which brought the total number of US states that support marijuana legalization to eight.
Proposition 64 of California, the country's most significant victory by far, legalized the use of marijuana for adults and enacted a retroactive sentencing reform on all marijuana offenses. It also established a strictly-controlled and comprehensive system to regulate and tax businesses that produce and distribute the psychoactive drug in the market. Its sensible approaches on youth protection, public health, revenue allocation, and licensing have set a new standard on the legalization of marijuana.
Just as Sanchez-Moreno said it, the question is not whether or not we should be legalizing marijuana. Instead, it’s how we should legalize it. Marijuana Justice Act is capable of legalizing marijuana in the proper way by addressing the devastation that marijuana prohibition has brought.