As if the U.S. marijuana movement needed a sign beyond the constant yammering about pot stocks and pet-friendly CBD to show that weed is really just becoming another cleanly shaven product of popular culture, a new poll released this week finds that the majority of Republicans is now pledging unwavering support for the herb. That’s right – the same party that has continued to sandbag the progress of legalization for the past several decades is now prepared to give the cannabis industry a shoe shine, a $50 haircut and a good old fashion lesson in capitalism.
A survey from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the General Social Survey finds, of course, that most folks (61 percent) in the United States are ready for legal weed. No big surprise there. For the past several years all of the national polls on this subject have turned out similar results.
But the main takeaway is the elephant-eared support on the matter of marijuana legalization now resides at 54 percent, which is up nearly ten points since 2016.
Republicans have a long way to go, however, before they are rolling with the cool kids on Capitol Hill. Democrats are still showing the most support for pot reform, with 76 percent now in favor of legalizing the leaf in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco.
Cannabis advocates say they are confident that the moment when marijuana finally goes legal nationwide is on the horizon.
“Our time has come,” Justin Strekal, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), told the AP. “Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition.”
Well, we’d say it is about time that more than four decades of extensive outreach pays off. It was getting to the point where NORML was going to have to slap the slogan don’t hold your breath on their business cards.
But positive change takes time.
There are now more than 30 states that have legalized for medicinal use, while 10 states and counting have passed laws making it fully legal to possess and buy marijuana in a way similar to alcohol. The latter is the route the nation seems to be gunning for as of late. The most recent pushes in Congress have all included paths to eliminate the cannabis plant from the confines of the Controlled Substances Act and thereby allowing the individual states to legalize how they see fit.
Still, there are plenty of snags.
Sure, the majority of Republicans are showing support for pot reform, but it’s not the right Republicans. The U.S. Senate, where GOP domination is in full effect, does not share in this enthusiasm for legal weed, we assure you. But eventually, they will join in, that is a given. It’s just a matter of getting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on board. Come to think of it, maybe the next poll (pole) should be one that can be used to knock some sense into him. Because once McConnell supports legal weed, the end of federal marijuana prohibition is as good as a done deal.