During the “Just Say No!” years of the 1980s, less than a quarter of Americans supported the legalization of marijuana. Today, even presidential candidates are relaxing their views on prohibition.
“When they repealed alcohol prohibition, it was left up to the states what to do with alcohol,” says ReasonTV senior editor Jacob Sullum. “And so you have most of the Republican presidential candidates saying the federal government should not interfere if the states want to legalize. That’s really an amazing development.”
In 2016, recreational marijuana reform may be on the ballot in nearly a dozen states.. With support for recreational marijuana polling at a record-high 58 percent, it’s only a question of how many states legalize in next year’s elections.
Sullum believes that California, the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, is the best bet for passage and the most influential state in play. “There’s a good shot it’s going to pass. It’s kind of surprising that California has not legalized marijuana by now,” says Sullum, who is also the author of Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use, a nationally syndicated columnist, a drug-policy blogger at Forbes.