Opinion may be turning in favor of legalized marijuana
A cultural shift may be underway in the United States.
For the first time, a Pew Research Center survey shows that a majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, according to The Associated Press.
The margin is small: 52 percent support the idea, but it's still historic.
And, it's a big change from 1969, when 84 percent opposed legalization.
Even more said they felt government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth — a statement with which 72 percent of those polled agreed.
Could it be that a change is ahead for marijuana? As it stands now, at least 17 states — including Arizona — have passed laws that legalize the use of medicinal marijuana for qualified patients. Arizona's law, however, has been wrapped up in red tape and details since voters approved it.
Only two states — Washington and Colorado — have passed measures that legalize marijuana for recreational use.
In December, President Barack Obama said that federal authorities have “bigger fish to fry” then the marijuana smokers in Colorado and Washington — interesting, because at the federal level, marijuana in any form — medicinal or recreational — is still illegal.
According to BalancedPolitics.com, those who favor legalization feel that the drug isn't more harmful than alcohol or tobacco, and that it actually provides some medical benefits for seriously ill patients. And, supporters note, it could be a new source of tax revenue, while at the same time freeing up police and court resources for more serious crimes.
Those opposed to legalization say that marijuana is often a stepping-stone drug, leading to other drugs. They also express concerns about the dangers of stoned driving and of secondhand smoke, as well as the potential for marijuana to get into the hands of children more easily.
Clearly, the nation is still split on the legalization issue, but the tide appears to be turning in favor of it. It will be interesting how government officials respond to a changing public opinion.