Tag Archives: pot

Legalizing Pot Is Pretty Much The Most Popular Thing In America, Besides Freedom

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Yesterday, Gallup reported that for the first time ever, a solid majority of Americans (58%) are in favor of legalizing marijuana. For some perspective, consider that Gallup has been asking respondents about this question since way back in 1969, and never have they recorded a clear majority like this.

Barro went looking for some comparisons, to further emphasize the good news:

More Americans want to legalize marijuana than think President Obama is doing a good job (44%), want to keep or expand Obamacare (38%), favored attacking Syria (36%), support a 20-cent gas tax increase to pay for infrastructure (29%), or like the Republican Party (28%).

And legal marijuana has more than five times as many supporters as Congress does (11%).

Drum considers the shocking upwards trend of support for pot legalization, and marks 2020 as the date to look forward to (my italics):

I have a rule of thumb that favorability ratings need to reach about 65 percent before you hit a tipping point where a major social change starts getting codified into law nationwide. There’s nothing magic about this threshold. It’s just a general sense based on previous issues similar to this. And as you can see, public opinion isn’t merely rising on marijuana legalization, it’s accelerating. The rate of increase has gone from about 0.5 points per year in the 90s to 1.5 points in the aughts to 4 points so far in the teens. If this keeps up, we’ll pass the 65 percent threshold by 2016 or so.

And Andrew Sullivan – rightly – champions the news as further proof of societal norms “adjusted to empirical reality”:

Being gay went from being a crime to being a citizen in my lifetime. Now, smoking or vaping the harmless, ubiquitous drug, marijuana, is beginning to be thought of as indistinguishable from drinking the much more harmful, ubiquitous drug, alcohol.

What the two reforms also have in common, in my view, is adjusting our social norms to empirical reality. It was always absurd to think of gay people as somehow outside the norms of love, commitment and family. It is empirically insane to treat pot as having no conceivable medical use and classified in the most dangerous category there is. And yet our government proved itself incapable of adjusting to reality on both blindingly obvious questions, until the people long moved past it.

Well, Tocqueville is proven right again, isn’t he?

Indeed, he was.

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Exposing the Wildly Racist and Stupidly Expensive War on Pot

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It’s common enough knowledge that the “war on drugs” was and is a colossal failure. If anything, the entire experiment probably exacerbated the nation’s drug problem. But a new report from the ACLU doesn’t simply expose these truths for the first time, but rather relays current statistics that are so insanely crazy that it boggles the mind to read them. The skinny version is this: from 01-10 there were 8 million “pot” arrests, costing roughly $3.6 billion per year, and while blacks and whites use the same amount of pot, blacks are arrested and incarcerated 4 times the rate of whites, 8 times the rate in certain states.

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The reason the racial disparity is so distressing here is that the ACLU didn’t simply limit their research to the big boys of DC and NY etc., but extrapolated their finding all across the country, crunching data for 945 counties. Their findings were – for lack of a better word – horrifying:
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Is Marijuana the New Civil Rights Issue?

Bill Maher compares marijuana legalization to gay rights, and argues that the former is new civil rights issue of our time.

Having passed Marijuana legalization, both Colorado and Washington are figuring out competent ways to regulate the pot market, respectively. Colorado has already adopted a comprehensive regulatory system:

Colorado House of Representatives Assistant Majority Leader Dan Pabon said the legislation reflected the “will of the voters” who charged lawmakers with setting up the regulatory system after approving legalization in a vote last November.

One of the bills signed by Hickenlooper calls for a referendum in November on setting a 15 percent excise tax and an additional 10 percent sales tax on marijuana sales.

Other measures included in the legislative package are setting blood limits for driving while under the influence of marijuana at 5 nanograms per milliter, and limiting purchases of marijuana to non-Colorado residents at one-quarter of an ounce.

“The laws … signed today put the health and safety of our kids front and center,” said Pabon, a Democrat. “They drive a stake into the heart of a large black market while creating a regulated, legitimate industry.”

Washington state is working to figure it out:

Licenses will be handed out in three main categories—producer, processor and retailer—for a fee of $1,000. High, say some. Retail outlets will be limited and marijuana may only be grown in secure, indoor facilities. Background checks for the licenses, including fingerprinting, will aim to weed out unsavoury types. Residency and record-keeping requirements are designed to keep the pot business in-state.

Some of the draft rules seem draconian, but it is important that Washington get this right. Congress is closely watching state experiments with pot legalisation, the success of which would blunt criticism from moralistic lawmakers.

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