Marijuana in the past was considered taboo in American culture and politics. Just check out the “Saved by the Bell” episode, “No Hope With Dope.”
Over the last 10 years, however, Americans have come to embrace the idea of legal weed.
Late last year, a record 64% of Americans told Gallup that marijuana should be made legal.
That was equal to the percentage who thought same-sex marriage should be legal in Gallup’s 2017 polling. It was more than double the 31% who said marijuana should be legal in 2000. The percentage who thought marijuana should be made legal in 2017 was 52 percentage points higher than the only 12% who favored making marijuana legal when Gallup first asked the question in 1969.
Much like the movement to make same-sex marriage legal, marijuana legalization has started at the state level. You can smoke a joint legally in a number of New England and western states.
A big difference with the same-sex marriage movement, however, is that support for marijuana legalization isn’t just occurring within the Democratic base. Yes, Democrats are more likely to say that people should be able to smoke marijuana legally, but a significant percentage of Republicans feel the same way.
In Gallup’s polling last year, 72% of Democrats thought marijuana should be legal compared to 51% of Republicans. Both of those are more than double the percentage each party’s base felt about marijuana legalization just 15 years ago.
Indeed, marijuana legalization hasn’t just occurred in blue states. Voters in the red state of Alaska and the purple states of Colorado and Maine all have voted to legalize marijuana.
Colorado’s Republican Sen. Cory Gardner blocked Republican President Donald Trump’s Justice Department nominees until Trump promised not to attack Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.
And, in perhaps in the ultimate “whoa” moment, Republican and former House Speaker John Boehner joined the advisory board of a marijuana company. Whether Boehner will actually light up on 4/20 is another question.
Analysis by Harry Enten, CNN