Jacob Sullum on the Rising Popularity of Marijuana Legalization


As of today, you can smoke pot legally in Washington, and you don't need permission from a doctor. At midnight this morning that state's marijuana legalization initiative began to take effect, eliminating all state and local penalties for possession of up to an ounce by adults 21 or older. By next December, the Washington State Liquor Control Board is supposed to adopt regulations for marijuana growers and retailers.

Writing in The Daily Beast, Jacob Sullum notes that voters approved the Washington initiative and a similar one in Colorado by surprisingly healthy margins of about 10 points in both states, in contrast with a California legalization measure that lost by seven points two years ago. Sullum says a recent survey by Public Policy Polling suggests other states may be ready to follow Washington and Colorado's example: It found that 58 percent of registered voters favor legalizing pot, the highest level of support ever recorded in a national poll. While the results of other recent surveys are less impressive, he writes, they also indicate that marijuana legalization is more popular than ever, reflecting a generational shift that politicians ignore at their peril.

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