Overall, Americans now favor changing pot laws with about 60% for and 40% against.
In more progressive areas, the number of pro pot people is staggering. In the 15,000(!) comments resulting from a recent NYT series on pot, there were 12,658 comment for, 982 against, and 254 unsure.
Most commenters seem convinced marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco and that arrest and incarceration, for possession of a relatively harmless substance, ruins more lives than the cannabis itself.
The consensus opinion was summarized in this comment: “Like many wars, the war on drugs has caused too much carnage. Let’s responsibly legalize marijuana.”
Another comment went into more detail: “No matter how bad you think marijuana is for kids, teens or adults, the fact is that arrest, incarceration, and the ruin they bring is worse. The question is not whether marijuana is ‘O.K.’ It is how [to] effectively deal with it. Illegality and moral censure are and should remain separate tools. … I think many people are worried about losing control of their kids, but I don’t think a single one of them wants to see their kid locked up.”
Someone who worked in an Emergency Room said: “I have yet to see one patient come through our doors suffering the long-term consequence of pot use. Not one. Alcohol? I can’t even begin to count. And when they do, it is very ugly.”
And there was the libertarian (and I think pretty clever) angle: “I reject the federal government’s right to decide what I put in my body. Even if it was ‘bad’ for you, so what? We don’t ban skydiving, driving in cars, hunting, professional backyard wrestling, traveling to 3rd world countries, sugary foods and beverages, standing outside during thunderstorms with a metal pole, swimming after eating, caffeine, ibuprofen, alcohol, cigarettes or prescription drugs, all of which are statistically more likely to harm you.”
I own a small condo in Colorado that’s getting more valuable, driven by legal pot in Colorado. Maybe I should sell it soon, before other states realize what time it is.