Wednesday, May 28, 2014

National Legalization of Recreational Marijuana may be in Trouble

A new poll shows Americans are comfortable with medical marijuana, but less than a majority support recreational use. This is different from a spate of polls in 2013 and earlier this year, which showed a majority of Americans for legalization. (Pew 52%, March 2013; Pew 54%, February 2014; CBS 51%, February 2014, but only 48% in May). The poll, sponsored by NPR, could be an outlier or it may have caught a counter-trend. If so, Colorado may be the reason.

Implementation has not been smooth. Colorado’s intense coverage of the problems has spurred a national dialogue that is more focused on the risks and problems than benefits of ending the expensive and often haphazard enforcement. Concerns about youth usage, undetermined potency, driving under the influence, criminal distribution, and the uncertain effects on learning, lungs and mental health have put the brakes on the rush to legalize.

The country’s two leading governors, Chris Christie in New Jersey and Jerry Brown in California, have recently come out against legalization in their states.
Christie: “It’s not going to come while I’m here.” “See if you want to live in a major city in Colorado where there’s head shops popping up on every corner and people flying into your airport just to come and get high. To me, it’s just not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey and there’s no tax revenue that’s worth that.”

Brown: “How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation? The world’s pretty dangerous, very competitive. I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together.”
Washington Post: Gov. Jerry Brown on legalized marijuana: “How  many people can get stoned and still have a great state?”
Los Angeles Times: Does new marijuana study back Gov. Brown’s warning about pot smokers?
CNN Political Ticker: Christie on pot: Colorado law “not the quality of life we want”
NPR: Poll: Yes to medical marijuana, not so much for recreational pot
CBS News Poll: Should pot be decriminalized?

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