Steven Greenhut on California's Cautious Effort at Marijuana Legalization in 2016


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Regardless of one's take on the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision on Friday forbidding states from banning same-sex marriage, it's clear the ruling didn't come in a vacuum. Analysts said the court "created" a new civil right, but public attitudes have shifted dramatically in recent years. The court simply gave its blessing to a cultural change that already has taken place. We see another long-in-the-making social change on the issue of marijuana. A recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found 55 percent of likely California voters in favor of legalizing weed for recreational uses. Support for such an idea was barely perceptible decades ago. But courts and legislatures usually lag far behind changing public perceptions. Now a group called Reform California is trying to agree on a "unity" initiative that not only satisfies the diverse group of legalization supporters, writes Steven Greenhut, but is careful enough to win a statewide election.