One of the reasons marijuana remains illegal is that a dedicated group of drug war profiteers and anti-pot zealots have been fighting pretty darn hard to keep it that way. But when you look at the political landscape surrounding the issue, it’s not a pretty picture for those who still place pot atop their list of things to be concerned about. Adam Cohen at Time has a piece this week that gets it right:
“In strictly political terms, this is a powerful combination: fast-growing support and solid majorities among the young, who represent where the electorate is headed. (Support for gay marriage polls similarly — which is why it is becoming law in more states.) In a few years, the national discussion may well turn from whether to legalize marijuana to how to do it in the most prudent way.”
The political reality of the situation ought to be obvious to everyone by now, but it actually isn’t at all. To those who bitterly oppose any change to our marijuana laws, every argument for reform is pure fiction, including the notion that more than a few people dislike our current approach to pot. They’ll tell you that polls showing broad support are anomalous, ballot measures that succeeded were won by manipulation, and the debate’s visibility on the web is the work of “internet trolls” mischievously disrupting civil discourse.
Yet their biggest mistake of all is telling everyone that marijuana reform will be unspeakably horrible, when you can just watch how well these changes are working wherever they emerge. The good outweighs the bad so obviously that a supposedly “controversial” concept like medical marijuana has nevertheless been replicated repeatedly around the country, gaining support as it goes.
The future of the marijuana debate is, rather clearly at this point, simply a question of how to structure the production and distribution of marijuana in a way that best addresses the flaws of the current system. That’s where we’re headed, and people who don’t like it are still better off accepting it and taking a seat at the table than continuing to defend the failed war that’s falling out of favor right in front of you.