Only a few decades ago, almost all states barred recreational and medical use of marijuana. But today, only fifteen states outlaw the drug in one form or the other. This new paradigm has experts asking whether or not a tipping point has been reached in public perception of whether or not the drug should be legalized. And point in fact: marijuana legalization made strides on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Recreational marijuana initiatives received overwhelming support in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. Medical marijauan received enough support to pass in Mississippi and South Dakota.
Professor Robert Mikos of law at Vanderbilt University said, “There’s been building momentum towards this. A change in attitudes is what’s driving legalization, and it’s interesting about why people view this drug more positively today that 50 years ago. In part, I think it’s because we’ve come to realize that it’s not as harmful as we once thought it was. People are less worried about it.”
That makes sense considering the person responsible for forming government opinion against the drug admitted he basically made everything up years ago.
The first states to allow recreational use of the drug were Colorado and Washington. 34 states allow the drug to be used for medicine (and let’s face it, most of those guidelines are fairly relaxed).
A Pew research study conducted in September 2019 found 67 percent of adults believe marijuana should be legalized for recreational use — but nearly a third of Americans still disagreed. This is a stark contrast to a prior study conducted in 1969, when only 12 percent of Americans were in favor of legalization. Most likely, they were the ones using the drug!
Mikos said, “There’s two different stories here, a difference between the recreational measures and the medical measures. Medical marijuana is oftentimes promoted as a drug that rather than being harmful for some people can actually improve their lives, so it’s a public health story.”