Tipping point recognized

I was impressed with this CNN story: As haze clears, are American opinions on pot reaching tipping point? (except for the obligatory pun in the headline).

It is a story of a lot of people getting caught flat-footed by the sudden surge of the legalization movement…

“I’m surprised by the long-term increase in support for marijuana legalization in the last six or seven years. It’s unprecedented. It doesn’t look like a blip,” said Peter Reuter, a University of Maryland public policy professor with 30 years experience researching drug policy.

Reuter, who co-wrote the book “Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate,” said he believes two factors are spurring the shift in national opinion: Medical marijuana has reduced the stigma associated with the drug, making it “less devilish,” and the number of Americans who have tried the drug continues to rise.

This is now becoming the conventional wisdom of even the very mainstream press — that cannabis legalization is probably inevitable. The only real question left is “How?”

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34 Responses to Tipping point recognized

  1. ezrydn says:

    How? No. “WHEN?!!”

    • Windy says:

      How is really easy, at all levels of government, all it would take is a blanket repeal of ALL laws relating to prohibition.

  2. primus says:

    It would appear that with the tipping point having been reached, the next step is for the media to ridicule those pols who haven’t yet received the message. Words like ‘anachronism’, ‘out of step’ and ‘backward-thinking’ should start to creep into the discussion of pols’ position on prohibition.

    • Freeman says:

      Exactly. I went to a town-hall meeting a few weeks ago and asked my rep for his stance on ending the drug war. I let him know that this is my big issue at the moment, and my support will only go to those in favor of ending it. Got a stunned look from the rep and a little bit of applause from some of the other citizens. Put ’em on notice, they’ll eventually respond.

  3. DonDig says:

    Re-scheduling, or even better, de-scheduling would be a start.
    ‘We were wrong about this, we’ve reviewed more information. . .’
    That would start it.
    We’re almost there.

    • actually, we’re still watching a re-run of the late 70’s

      the key thing to do remains the same: get rid of *all* of the fucking idiots in Congress. yet, election after election the voters return the same morons responsible for this mess to their positions of power.

  4. Matthew Meyer says:

    How, yes! I think even those of us who have been trying to make legalization happen (in our own small ways) are being surprised how things are starting to shake out.

    Legal / illegal used to seem such a simple binary…

    And I won’t say Peter Reuter is wrong, but I do think his “reasons” for shifting opinion nationally beg the question.

    There’s more medical, ergo less stigma; more people are smoking, same deal.

    It seems like if you’re looking for an explanation you need to go beyond this intentionless cog-universe: Hey Peter Reuter, there are people drawing paychecks to lie about pot, and a bunch of us are calling them on it. And on the internet, people notice.

    I’m not discounting demographic trends, we all know the strongest opponents of Reefer are dying off.

    But let’s not overlook the fact that people are making this change happen by their activism.

  5. Ben says:

    I hope marijuana legalization is only the start of the end of the war on drugs. I long for the day when I can tell my grandkids about how illegal all of these things used to be.

  6. Servetus says:

    Drug law reform has always been on the leading edge of prison reform. Many rotting edifices are starting to tip because of the drug war. The American Corrections Association, “the world’s largest association for correctional officers”, has now called for an end to mandatory minimum sentencing:

    “ACA’s members know from long and first-hand experience that crowding within correctional systems increases violence, threatens overall security within a facility, and hampers rehabilitation efforts,” American Corrections Association President Chris Epps said.

    We probably won’t see a noble gesture like this coming from the privatized prison industry. Their low-paying jobs are definitely on the chopping block, along with the industry itself.

  7. divadab says:

    The biggest impediment to ending prohibition at a federal level IMHO is the huger number of jobs that depend totally on prohibition continuing. This is a huge lobby for the status quo (in this, and other areas such as the military, homeland security, etc.).

    Because the federal government is so distant and centralized, it’s both easier to corrupt and also easier for internal factions to get disproportionate power. The battle is far from over because the machine of prohibition is so well entrenched.

  8. Duncan20903 says:


    I can hardly fault outsiders for being shocked about the sudden sea change in the public opinion on the issue of cannabis law reform. After all I’m still pinching myself and expect to wake up from this very pleasant dream shortly after picking up a newspaper with the headline “America Re-legalizes!!” in 40 point type and I’ll find myself back in the reality where Nancy Reagan has just been re-elected POTUS for an unprecedented 5th term.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Well color me confused. I’d think our thumbs down troll would have liked the idea of Nancy Reagan as POTUS for life.

      • Howard says:

        Too bad ThumbDowner doesn’t join the debate. That said, he/she/it puts a smile on my face every time I get nicked.

  9. claygooding says:

    Let me dust this one off,,

    ‘Smoking a joint with a straight person has changed more minds than all the science and rhetoric ever has,,getting high and waking up the next morning with no hang over is the best testimony to the safety and usefulness of cannabis.’

    later changed too:Spreading the herb and knowledge has gotten us this far and it will take us the rest of the way,,,get a str8 high today and dazzle them with science.

  10. tensity1 says:

    Simple: Truth and Internet.

  11. ezrydn says:

    Mayor of Mexico City, DF (District Federal) has stated that Marijuana will be legal in Mexico City before the end of the year. Just heard it today. Big writeup in paper last week but I can’t read it.

  12. darkcycle says:

    “It doesn’t look like a blip” No. Blips aren’t that large. Perhaps it’s just a typo. Maybe he meant to say “Doesn’t look like a BLIMP” Yeah…that’s it.

  13. darkcycle says:

    BTW. I’m not so convinced that there was such a great swing in public opinion. I have a suspicion that what changed is people’s willingness to speak up.

  14. Rick Steeb says:

    [as I just added to the 8200+ extant comments there]

    I am SO tired of the utterly bizarre catch-22 situation where a non-toxic and medically useful herb has to pass pharmaceutical muster to become similarly restricted as carcinogenic and viciously addictive tobacco.

    That crap will NOT fly in MY household.

  15. Playing Politics With the Drug War – How Government Creates Problems, Then Makes Them Worse



    Ask yourself why after so many decades of apparent failure — drugs are plentiful, accessible, and inexpensive — prohibition persists, as if spending more taxpayer dollars or coming up with some new law-enforcement gimmick will bring success. Maybe prohibition has not failed at all. Maybe the purpose is simply to spend the money and expand law enforcement. Maybe all the moralizing is simply a ruse.

    And maybe what Thomas Paine said about wars also applies to the war on drugs: “a bystander, not blinded by prejudice nor warped by interest, would declare that taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes.”

  16. Howard says:

    “Maybe all the moralizing is simply a ruse.”

    All the moralizing is ENTIRELY a ruse. Consider again the New Yorker article ‘Taken’ referenced in Pete’s post about civil asset forfeiture on August 6th. This quote from the article regarding the possible ‘damage’ caused if asset forfeiture were curtailed or overly scrutinized;

    “Many officers contend that their departments would collapse if the practice were too heavily regulated, and that a valuable public-safety measure would be lost.”

    See the last part of that sentence “…and a valuable public-safety measure would be lost.”? That’s the ruse part, thrown in to make the entire nefarious practice seem palatable. And moral.

    It’s a cover, and has less to do with public safety, or the greater good, or (god forbid) The Children, or correcting the debased morality of the drug-taking, unwashed masses. But it has very much to do with the very profitable Prohibition, Inc.

  17. Howard says:

    Regarding the “how” of cannabis re-legalization, there are essentially two sides (I’m over simplifying for a reason). One is how to reintegrate cannabis into the above-board world outside and beyond the black market. Colorado and Washington are already working on this in the US (for many of us this is not an issue, it’s already done). Bureaucrats just can’t wait to over complicate this process. It will be a needlessly tangled affair. But that’s what bureaucrats do, we’ll get past it.

    The other “how” will be from those who have much to lose once cannabis prohibition looks to be gasping its last breath. It will be diametrically opposed to the first one. Their “how” will be, “How do we forestall the inevitable as long as possible. It looks like we can continue to extract (extort?) valuable assets and taxes for only so long now. We must drag this inevitability out as long as we can. Our days are numbered, let’s make them count”.

    Pity those on the other side. They are doomed. Wait, forget the pity, they deserve the doom we’ve reserved for them.

    • Howard says:


      “The police seized “17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants … native grasses and sunflowers,” after holding residents inside at gunpoint for at least a half-hour…”

      Now there’s a war on vegetables (and sunflowers?). That’s it, now my tomato plants really have to go…

      • Howard says:

        And here’s how I envision the raid on my garden going down;

        Dispatcher #1: “Sheriff, we got a tip that a local man is growing Cherokee Purple in his back yard. Our informant says they’re real tasty”.

        Sheriff: “Cherokee Purple huh? Sounds like marijuana”.

        Dispatcher #2: “Uh, Sheriff, I think Cherokee Purple is an heirloom tomato plant, been around since the 1800’s from what I’ve been told”.

        Sheriff: “Can’t be too cautious, send in the helicopters”.

        Damn, and some of the bigger ones were just starting to ripen…

  18. Scott says:

    I certainly won’t complain about increasing cannabis legality, gearing up to find my place in helping MA get the job done right.

    However, I do express concern that if enough isn’t done to tie in the failure of the CSA with the rising popularity of legal cannabis, then upon full cannabis legalization, too many people may ignore the need to repeal the CSA itself, and more suffering will occur.

    We need to take full advantage of the push towards cannabis legalization to raise public interest in repealing the CSA.

  19. darkcycle says:

    Worth a read: http://www.policestateusa.com/archives/144
    How to serve a warrant, 1972 vs. today.

  20. allan says:

    all kinds of crap rolls thru my email, but when I saw one from the Heritage Foundation w/ the subject ‘alert!’ I had to look. Well it seems they’re holding $500,000 for me in Western Union. The administrator’s name is Rick James, the email is a gmail, and it has a Euro ph #. Sounds legit!

    The Heritage Foundation is certainly changing, giving 1/2 a mil to an old hippie is astounding. I wonder… can I get that delivered in cardboard boxes, all in already circulated 20s and 100s?

  21. Discovery Channel News-Health:

    Legalize It: Marijuana Gaining Acceptance in U.S.


  22. allan says:

    Tonite at 9 on CNN, Piers Morgan revisits the pot issue:

    Gone to Pot: America’s Marijuana Obsession. A “Piers Morgan Live” special.


    As part of an hour-long special on the United States’ changing perceptions of cannabis, this evening Piers Morgan invites Neil Franklin and David Evans to present their individual insights and perspectives.


    • claygooding says:

      David Evans willl be stammering and stuttering worse than the lady rehab doctor was,,,she made a poor prohibitionist though,,she admitted marijuana is a medicine,,I don’t see Evans doing that ..he will go down with the ship with his what about the children ringing loud and clear.

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