As the United States slowly skids towards the straight-up legalization of marijuana in a cloud of smoke, Canada and Mexico have also begun to embrace the idea of reform. Leaving many to wonder. . . how long until cannabis is legal in North America?
With Canada’s new Prime Minister promising to legalize cannabis “Right away,” and Mexico’s Supreme Court declaring the prohibition of marijuana use highly unconstitutional, many watching the political circus currently devolving in the U.S. are more than a little curious –– when will our politicians wake up and smell the new reality? The citizens of North America want marijuana legalized!
Forget about the foul and expensive race to be the next President of the United States. The ideological war of the far right, too. With more than a decade of meticulously authored legislation in our collective rearview mirror and a rapidly shifting public attitude, 2016 is shaping up to go down in history as the year marijuana legalization flowered across North America.
In a recent survey cultivated by Morning Consult, 55% of registered voters in the U.S. raised their hands to the idea of bringing a swift and concise end to marijuana prohibition. In November 2016, Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Nevada will all vote to legalize recreational marijuana. And if the fresh crop of recent polling data is correct, greater access to legal marijuana in the U.S. could soon become the new norm. (*More 2015 polls showing support for legalization: Gallup 58 percent support legalization; Pew 53 percent support legalization; CBS News 53 percent support legalization.)
The changing demographics
No doubt, public opinion on marijuana legalization has changed dramatically in recent years. In 2006, only 32 percent of Americans said they favored marijuana legalization. Per the above mentioned Pew poll, today that figure has jumped to 53 percent. The recent Pew poll also showed Millennials — those individuals born between 1981 and 1997 – were heading up the pro-legalization front, with 68 percent saying, “YES” to legalization. Meanwhile, 52 percent of Americans in the Gen X crowd — those born between 1965 and 1980 — believe the United States should also legalize marijuana now.
Shown to be safer than alcohol, cigarettes, prescription medication, sugar and aspirin; marijuana consumption among U.S. residents has nearly doubled over the past decade. (Which in my opinion is a good thing.) Creating empathy, compassion, and a much calmer populous in the Northern Hemisphere, more than 22 million Americans, mostly recreational users, are now consuming cannabis rather than slamming addictive prescriptions or getting sh!t-faced drunk. Making marijuana their primary means of relaxing at the end of a stress-filled day.
The demographics of marijuana legalization imply that states with youthful residents and left-leaning tendencies are sprinting towards the legalization finish line. As Canada and Mexico move forward with their reform, and our antiquated politicians slowly begin to retire, a new wave of younger lawmakers will seize control of the legislative reins. Hopefully ending the war on this peaceful plant.
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