Last week, Gallop released a poll indicating that there is growing acceptance for marijuana legalization. For the first time ever, more Americans favor legalizing marijuana than those who want it to remain illegal. But how does this impact the laws that govern the use of marijuana?
Quite simply, it does nothing. First of all, Gallop is not a state organization. They do plenty of polling on a wide range of issues, and generally, they do a pretty good job. Despite the growing acceptance of marijuana legalization, it does not matter if 100% of the people surveyed believe it should be changed. What matters is legislation and votes.
Second, this is the first time in over a hundred years that public opinion has swayed towards favoring legalization. Anti-marijuana legislation began showing up in 1906, and it has taken over a century to have the first real signs of swinging the other direction. To give some perspective, diarrhea was the leading cause of death, blues was just starting to emerge as a form of music, we had not yet had either World War, nor a global pandemic (Spanish Flu), women did not have the right to vote, and Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and New Mexico had not become states yet.
In other words, it is a very long-held belief that marijuana should not be legalized, and it will take more than a single overnight shift to have any lasting impact on national drug policy. Only now are we beginning to see states open up to the idea of allowing recreational use on the state level. This sudden crossover is going to have to last a lot longer and go far deeper before any real changes take place.
Are we against these changes and the shift towards acceptance? Not really. We have no problem with people who can drink or smoke occasionally without ruining their lives or the lives of others. However, we have also seen what happens when people think they can use and drink with impunity, only to find out too late that they cannot do so like most people.
It is something we see every day, but we also see the happiness our clients find in recovery every day as well. We do not have anything against medical or recreational marijuana. We are simply sad and disappointed to hear when others say that smoking pot or drinking is the only time they feel happy, or that they need it to deal with whatever circumstances are happening in their lives. We feel that way because we know, first hand, that there are better options out there.
On the other hand, we do not believe that jail time or criminal records are effective at doing anything other than reducing the quality of life of those convicted of such crimes and their families. It would be one step closer to the judicial system recognizing that addiction is not a moral issue that can be punished away, but a medical issue that is far more complex.
What do you think? Are you one of the new majority who supports marijuana legalization? Tell us why or why not in the comments!