The Majority of Marijuana – The New York Times

A decade ago, no American would have lived in a country where smoking marijuana, using e-cigarettes, or eating recreationally was allowed. today, Almost half of Americans Do or will soon: Voters approved ballot legalization measures this month in Maryland and Missouri, bringing the number of states that allow the use of any adult to 21.

Legalization may not make the headlines often, but it’s a big deal. It amounts to America’s biggest change to drug policy in decades. By aligning marijuana with alcohol and tobacco, rather than hard drugs, the policy change is giving birth to a new industry. Over time, it could reduce hundreds of thousands of marijuana arrests in the United States each year, freeing up police resources.

The change came largely because of the support of voters, not politicians or lawmakers. While the public supports legalization, some prominent political leaders do not: President Biden has said he opposes it. Donald Trump has called legalization an issue for states to decide, but his 2020 presidential campaign has said marijuana should remain illegal.

One of the main reasons for the success of marijuana legalization: It’s popular. About 68 percent of adults in the United States support legalization, according to a Gallup poll last week. Even a majority of Republicans, who are usually more conservative on the issue, told Gallup they support legalization.

About two decades ago, public opinion was exactly the opposite: About 64 percent of adults in the United States said that marijuana should not be legal.

Shift towards supporting empowered rationing campaigns across the United States. The 21 states that have legalized it have only done so since 2012, starting with Colorado and Washington. Three of those states reliably vote Republican: Alaska, Montana and Missouri.

Why do voters come about rationing? Advocates argue for many issues. Much of the public now sees the broader war on drugs as a costly failure — and marijuana, widely seen as less dangerous than alcohol, is a reachable target for policy change. States’ experiments with medical marijuana, beginning in the 1990s, helped make Americans more comfortable with making it easier to access. The Internet facilitated the spread of the popular rationing movement.

Some prominent lawmakers did not follow through on the shift in public opinion. Biden has said he opposes jailing marijuana users and has pardoned thousands of people convicted of marijuana possession under federal law. But he also opposes legalization, which puts him at odds with more than 80 percent of self-identified Democrats.

The opposition has led activist lawmakers to rely heavily on voter support to enact the legislation. Of the 21 states where recreational marijuana is or will soon be legal, 14 have approved the change through ballot measures.

But there are limits to the polling process. Not every country allows such initiatives. The drug remains illegal at the federal level, which prevents most large banks from doing business with marijuana companies and raising companies’ tax bills.

Even in states where voters approve of legalization, marijuana may still be illegal. South Dakota residents voted to legalize marijuana in 2020, but Republican Gov. Kristi Noem took the measure to court and won. This month, voters in South Dakotan rejected another legalization initiative.

Some political resistance is waning. Congress passed the first standalone marijuana reform bill last week, which would allow for more research into medical uses if, as expected, Biden signs it into law. Many state legislatures, including Vermont and Virginia, have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Some prominent Democrats, such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have expressed support for legalization.

The shift comes slowly, but perhaps it’s typical: Whether they’re considering action on prescription drugs or same-sex marriage, lawmakers often move well after boosting voter support for an issue.

Looking for a good holiday read? The Times Book Review has published its annual 100 Notable Books, a survey of the year’s best books in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

“I’m still new to Book Review,” Gilbert Cruz, who took over as editor-in-chief this year, told us. “But I’ve been reading it forever, and this is probably the most colorful and wide list of notables we’ve ever had–historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers, horror, translated literature, an exceptional collection of short story collections, wonderful illustrated memoirs. I really feel like there’s something for anyone.” Almost someone.”

Browse the full list.

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