WASHINGTON: This year, for the first time, national polls show a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. Gallup has been asking the question for four decades, and now it says 58 percent favor legalization.
“Marijuana is now normal. It’s normal in Colorado and Washington, and I think it’ll soon be normal in most other states,” says Keith Stroup, a founder of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
NORML started pushing for legalization back in 1970. “And at the time, only 12 percent of the American public supported it, so we knew it was a formidable task at the time,” says Stroup. “We didn’t know it was going to take 43 years.”
The challenge, of course, has been winning over the majority of people who don’t use marijuana and don’t plan to. Stroup thinks that was accomplished in part by the medical marijuana movement. It rebranded pot, moving it off the street corner and into benign-looking dispensaries with green crosses in the windows. Eventually, pot even became a topic for foodies.
Soon after legalization last December, Seattle public radio station KUOW was chatting with chefs about how they use marijuana as an ingredient. They described the care they take in not overcooking it (lest you boil off the THC), and how to highlight weed’s subtler flavors — such as grapefruit.