First of all, fresh poll (Jan 23, 2014) from CBS
Majority of Americans now support legal pot, poll saysThe poll is embedded at the CBS link, but Freedom is on the March!Fifty-one percent say they think the use of marijuana should be made legal, while 44 percent do not. Public opinion on this issue has changed dramatically over the past few years: in October 2011 a slight majority (51 percent) opposed making marijuana use legal, and as recently as April 2013 public opinion was divided on this issue (45 percent supported, 45 percent opposed). Interestingly, in July 1979, when CBS News first asked the question, 69 percent thought marijuana use should not be made legal and only 27 percent thought it should be made legal.
Marijuana law reform is now officially very popular and with legalization underway in Colorado it is on the ballot in more and more states.
I want to highlight a post I found at AlterNet, written by Paul Armentano of NORML, discussing the impact of this rising populist tide on Red States in particular.
In his piece he focuses on Georgia (where I live), Arizona, Oklahoma, Indiana, Louisiana, and...Texas?
Make the jump (as we used to say)
In 6 Red States That Are Turning Green at a Rapid Clip — Are Marijuana Reforms Around the Corner? Armentano cites a republican strategist that says republicans need to say that marijuana is dangerous and legalization will come to no good end.
This simply bolsters my perspective that the 1-word reason that we are still tryting to get this accomplished is republicans. Dems are little help, but republicans are actively against reform. It was lock step since Nixon.
But that may be changing.
GeorgiaAccording to a local tv station, Medical marijuana issue gains momentum in Georgia
Nearly 33,000 Georgians were arrested in 2010 for possessing marijuana – a figure that was the sixth highest in the nation. But according to a just-published statewide Public Policy Poll, a majority of Peach State voters would prefer to see that total be reduced to zero. According to the January PPP poll, 54 percent of Georgians support "changing state law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol.” Fifty-seven percent of those Georgians surveyed support making cannabis legal for medical purposes. And 62 percent of voters support amending state law to make possession offenses a civil violation punishable by a fine up to $100, but without jail time. (Under present law, the possession of any amount of cannabis is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.) Following the poll’s release, some state lawmakers have expressed interest in forming a study committee to explore various options to allow for the herb’s medical use, including allowing for the options of high CBD, low THC strains of the plant.
ATLANTA —So credit where credit is due.
Channel 2 Action News has learned state lawmakers supporting medical marijuana could have a bill ready to go as early as this week that would make medical marijuana legal in Georgia.
Channel 2's Lori Geary began reporting the issue weeks ago and talked to an unlikely co-sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Micah Gravley, a Republican from Paulding County.
He says when he was first asked about the issue he flat out refused, telling supporters of the issue he's a conservative, Christian Republican.
Then he says the parents of 10-year-old Caden Clark reached out to him, "I have had a 180-degree change because I've seen how it can impact these kids and how it can impact these families who are now separated because one's here in Georgia, the other one's in Colorado."
Back to Armentano:
TexasThe linked article itself is chock-full of links, so be sure to read it.
Police made over 74,000 pot possession arrests in 2010. (Only New York state arrests more minor marijuana offenders annually.) Those arrested face up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. But a majority of Texas voters are saying ‘enough.’ According to an October 2013 PPP poll, 58 percent of Texans – including an estimated one out of two Republicans -- support "changing Texas law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol, where stores would be licensed to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older." Only 38 percent of respondents oppose the idea. An equal percentage of respondents also say that they favor legalizing the plant for medical purposes, while 61 percent of voters endorse decriminalizing pot. Among them is Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who recently stated that he supports efforts to amend state laws to mitigate the likelihood of pot possession offenders facing jail time.
Meanwhile the message for Democrats is to continue talking about the possibility of reform in other states.
Obama didn't do as well as he could have with his recent expressions about marijuana, but that's just how politics deals with reality. What he did was more than enough to have the effect I have anticipated: The Right was already having a spasm with legalization kicking in in Colorado. President Obama has blasted a hole in the traditional federal argument and greenlighted Democrats to continue talking about possible reform.
Obama talking even remotely favorably about the weed - which is exactly what I have wanted Democrats to do for a decade - has kicked that spasm up a notch and lead to them and their talking heads saying really stupid things, further alienate themselves from mainstream Americans.
“I said you can drink a beer and you cannot get high. If you smoke pot, you will get high.”In this case, "gateway drugs", a nonsense theory with no supporting research, is a 'reverse dogwhistle" - when people use it, it tells you they are stupid. Nobody believes this anymore, outside of the federal government.
“Look, you can use anything in moderation or anything in excess,” Polis said.
“But if you smoke any marijuana, you’re going to get high,” Hannity shot back.
The Fox News host concluded that the legalization of marijuana would “open a door” because marijuana is a “gateway drug.”
Clearly this should continue because it will pay off well and costs virtually nothing but media access.
Democrats should seek to cause them to continue to say really stupid stuff by merely talking sensibly about the possibility of reforms.
That clearly helps alienate them from the growing majority of Americans - Left and Right - who are tired of this shit and more than ready to move on.
And who vote.