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For the first time, CBS News has polled on marijuana legalizationand found that a majority are in favor or (re)legalizing marijuana.Gallup has already found majority support, as well as other polling orgs.

Even though several other polls in the past year have shown majority support for cannabis reform, this is the first time that Gallup claims to have gotten a majority response.

And this ain't some "slim majority", folks: the disparity between those polled as favoring legalization and those opposed is in the double-digits. (on their Facebook page, NORML posted- "There is 19% more support for legalization than opposition. That is very, very significant.")

Meanwhile, Rick Perry is over in Davos telling the rich elites that he supports a new approach on marijuana. Though he drops the "D" word- decriminalization- he doesn't even support THAT half-measure. Just like Chris Christie did last week, Rick Perry is trying to greenwash himself on marijuana policy to appeal to youth/Baby Boomers (the only age group that opposes marijuana legalization is the 65+ crowd).

As we speak, the internet is EXPLODING with the news that "rick perry supports decriminalization, OMG!"

But let's look at the fine print....

His spokesman confirmed that Perry is staunchly opposed to legalization of marijuana because of the dangers that have been associated with the drug, but is committed to decriminalization policies to lower the punishment for its use in order to keep smokers out of jail."
Well, ain't that nice? A great setup for some clickbait by Perry's team. Get some free media by exploiting a controversial topic. But let's look a little more closely than the sensationalist headlines...
Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday that he thinks states ought to be able to experiment with drug policy, but that he opposes legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana use in Texas, where he said the use of drug courts to find alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders has proven successful.

As I presciently warned in my last diary, Republicans are going to greenwash themselves on this issue in more subtle and complex ways than we are accustomed to seeing. Rand Paul's greenwashing was only the beginning. When neocons like Rick Perry start doing it, we should expect to see MANY other Republicans throw out these red herrings to confuse voters into thinking they support reform. They don't. This "drug courts" idea is already one Obama increased funding for when he took office. It is not the solution to our marijuana problem. Legalization, regulation, and taxation will do much more to solve our marijuana problem, while drug courts and rehab are more fiscally conservative ways to handle America's hard drug problem. [Drug addicts rarely get treatment in jail. I should know, I went to jail for pot and simply sat in a cage the whole time]

The best way for the Democratic Party to stop Republicans from greenwashing themselves to appear supportive of drug policy reform? By actually working to implement drug policy reform. Unfortunately, Democrats like Feinstein in California don't get it, and a Democrat Governor in New Hampshire has publicly declared her contempt for the will of the people and state legislature by promising to kill the historic state legalization bill that recently passed there.
In less than a decade, over 60% of Americans will support full legalization, and several more states will have followed the lead of CO and WA. Democrats can lead on this issue, or yield the momentum to panderers like Rick Perry. I'd love to see Wendy Davis step up and school Rick Perry in what good drug policy actually looks like, instead of little half-measures that do nothing to help the millions who are in jail for marijuana, or saddled with criminal records from it.
According to a 2012 report by the Human Rights and Criminal Sentencing Reform Project for the University of San Francisco School of Law, the United States is one of only 22 countries that doesn’t guarantee what’s called “retroactive ameliorative relief” in sentencing. Which means that when a law such as one legalizing marijuana is passed in America, those already convicted of marijuana crimes don’t automatically have their sentences relaxed. This puts us in the company of such bastions of social justice as Pakistan, Oman and South Sudan.

If Germany were to legalize marijuana, on the other hand, those convicted of weed crimes would see their sentences commuted, according to the USF report.

With 55% of Americans supporting marijuana legalization, the tea leaves aren’t exactly difficult to read: Legalized marijuana in America is a matter of when, not if.

A little satire to close out the diary...

Reporters attending the World Economic Forum, where Perry made this statement, revealed Perry had 3 reasons for his opinion. "First, I believe the states have the right to execute the will of the people, and if the people of Texas believe it should be legalized then so be it. Second, I would like keep people out of jails and promote a rehabilitative approach to minor offenses. And third, uh.... well uh... I can't remember the 3rd reason."

Originally posted to BikingForKarma on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 02:35 PM PST.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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