We’ve seen it with same-sex marriage, and now we are seeing the same phenomenon with legalization of marijuana The United States, while still suffering from a strong and dangerous conservative movement, in general is rapidly becoming more liberal on social issues. The Pew Research Center found that a majority support legalization of marijuana:
For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana. A national survey finds that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45% say it should not.
Support for legalizing marijuana has risen 11 points since 2010. The change is even more dramatic since the late 1960s. A 1969 Gallup survey found that just 12% favored legalizing marijuana use, while 84% were opposed.
Not surprisingly, liberal Democrats are far more likely than conservative Republicans to support legalization:
Only about three-in-ten conservative Republicans (29%) say marijuana use should be legal. Moderate and liberal Republicans are far more likely than conservatives to favor legalization (53%).
Like Republicans, Democrats are ideologically divided over legalizing marijuana. While 73% of liberal Democrats favor legalizing use of marijuana, only about half of conservative and moderate Democrats agree (52%).
Despite these partisan differences, both parties have similar views on enforcement of marijuana laws:
There are partisan differences over legalizing marijuana use and whether smoking marijuana is morally wrong. But Republicans and Democrats have similar views on enforcing marijuana laws: 57% of Republicans and 59% of Democrats say that the federal government should not enforce federal marijuana laws in states that permit its use. Substantial majorities of both Republicans (67%) and Democrats (71%) also say federal enforcement of marijuana laws is not worth the cost.
I wonder if many Republicans are looking at this from a states’ rights point of view. They also might be viewing this as fiscal conservatives, realizing that prohibition does not work and therefore not worth spending money on.
Perhaps this will also lead to decreased overall support for the drug war, and support for allocating more resources towards addressing the underlying problems contributing to drug addiction and abuse as opposed to perpetuating the drug war.