COLORADO: For decades, marijuana was a drug few would have ever supported legalizing. Between the 1960s and the mid-2000s, support for marijuana’s legalization ranged from the low teens to as high as 34%, according to Gallup. But the past decade has seen a major shift in momentum favoring the legalization of marijuana.
Since 1996, the number of states that have legalized medical marijuana shot from just one to 23, with Florida narrowly missing becoming the 24th state this past November.
Perhaps an even greater sign of change is the fact that four states — Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska — plus Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational adult use. If the opinion of the American public wasn’t clear enough in these figures, Gallup noted in 2013 that those in favor of legalization had shot up to 58%. It’s the first time in history that more people were in favor of legalizing marijuana than were opposed to its approval.
Despite its clear momentum, marijuana also has a number of well-documented challenges it still has to face. This week, marijuana received its latest challenge not from a study but from a lawmaker very much in tune with the ups and downs associated with legalizing marijuana on a recreational basis.