Public opinion on the legalization of marijuana is changing fast. According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, Americans now favor legalization by twenty points:
From Pew Research Center
This data was supported by a new poll from the Gallup organization, which has been polling on marijuana legalization for nearly fifty years. Gallup reports that support for the legalization of marijuana is up to 60%.
Similar results were announced on February 23rd 2017 in a Quinnipiac University National Poll, where 59% of U.S. voters believe marijuana should be made legal.
Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form.
Let’s look at recent laws passed by two states and their initial results.
Fifty-five percent of Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which legalizes
• Adult personal use and possession of cannabis (up to one ounce)
• Cultivation of up to six plants
The amendment also asks state lawmakers to enact regulations licensing its production and sales.
The following was the language on the ballot:
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning marijuana, and, in connection therewith, providing for the regulation of marijuana; permitting a person twenty-one years of age or older to consume or possess limited amounts of marijuana; providing for the licensing of cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and retail stores; permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities; requiring the general assembly to enact an excise tax to be levied upon wholesale sales of marijuana; requiring that the first $40 million in revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund; and requiring the general assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp?
According to the Brookings Institution, “It’s too early to judge the success of Colorado’s policy, but it is not too early to say that the rollout—initial implementation—of legal retail marijuana has been largely successful.”
In the media, the reviews are much the same. From Reuters:
Six months on, Colorado’s marijuana shops are mushrooming, with support from local consumers, weed tourists and federal government taking a wait-and-see attitude.
Tax dollars are pouring in, crime is down in Denver, and few of the early concerns about social breakdown have materialized – at least so far.
Fifty-six percent of voters approved the Legalized Marijuana Initiative, Measure 91, which features:
• Adult personal use and possession of marijuana (up to eight ounces)
•Cultivation of up to four plants.
This law has taken effect in July 2015. Expectations of the results of the law were high. According to the Huffington Post:
The new law means Oregon likely will reap benefits that appear to have followed legalization elsewhere: Reduced crime, from a legal industry supplanting a black market; higher tax revenue, once weed is legal to sell; and police forces and courts unburdened by droves of misdemeanor pot offenders.