Marijuana Legalization Is the New Gay Marriage

Rainbow: zzveillust/Shutterstock; Wedding topper: Ivonne Wierink/Shutterstock; Smoke: ecco/Shutterstock; Marijuana plant: Jan Faukner/Shutterstock; Photo-illustration: James West


Now that gay marriage is legal, what’s next? We liberals need a new movement that will once again put conservatives on the wrong side of history. The LA Times reports the answer might be marijuana:

The latest sign was the full-throated call last week by Sen. Bernie Sanders to end federal prohibition. With that one move, the candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination plunged into uncharted territory — and, arguably, so did the presidential race. Never before has a contender with so much to lose so unequivocally suggested that smoking a joint should be viewed the same as drinking a beer, at least in the eyes of the law.

….Hillary Rodham Clinton has told small audiences in the pot havens of Oregon and Colorado that marijuana businesses in states where it is legal need relief from federal restrictions that can make it impossible for them to operate.

Back in 2009—in a piece whose headline I still don’t get—I predicted that marijuana would be generally legal by 2019. That’s only a bit more than three years away, and so far it’s legal in only four states (Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska). However, 24/7 Wall St., which rather charmingly tracks marijuana commodity prices compiled by New Leaf Data Services,1 thinks another 11 states are getting close. And the latest Gallup poll shows that 58 percent of American favor pot legalization. That’s not quite up to the magic two-thirds level that’s often the tipping point for broad social change, but it’s close. We might get there by 2019 yet.

1Here’s the latest: “For the week ended Friday, October 30, the spot price index for a pound of cannabis increased by $51 (2.7%) from $1,790 in the prior week to $1,839. The simple (non-volume weighted) average price for a gram increased by 22 cents to $4.58.” Futures and forward prices were also up.