A new Bloomberg Politics poll asked Americans how long they think it will take for full legalization of marijuana to occur nationwide. 13 percent of respondents said the kind herb would be legal in each state in the nation within the next 20 years, while 26 percent predicted only 10 years and 17 percent said that only five years would be necessary to achieve this pinnacle milestone. Only two percent were insanely optimistic enough to assume that nationwide legalization would happen in the next year.
However, it should be noted that 32 percent of respondents, or nearly 1 out of 3, predicted that cannabis would never be legal in all 50 states.
Does Polling Equal Reality?
How does reality stack up to these polling numbers? Currently, only four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) and the District of Columbia have legal recreational marijuana, while 24 states have some form of medical cannabis law in place — including Georgia, which legalized cannabis oil for a limited set of conditions only days ago.
Those who believe that nationwide conversion, at either the federal level or via the simple establishment of laws in every state in the nation, is inevitable in the short term are underestimating the determination and resources of anti-marijuana legalization efforts — including police forces, influential politicians, and billionaire investors. Many other organizations oppose recreational legalization on moral or religious grounds.
States that are likely to legalize next, at a taxed and regulated recreational level, include Ohio, California, Michigan, and Vermont. While the Bloomberg study included just more than 1,000 adults, it reflects trends in public perception regarding the efficacy of cannabis for medical use and the rights of both states and tax-paying citizens to choose their medication, entertainment, and intoxicants.
Healthy — and sometimes angry — dialog over tax rates, grow and possession limits, and which medical conditions should be covered are currently being raged over a variety of bills and plans across the nation (including states with existing laws in place).
Outdoor Gardens & Tax Rates Debated
If laws are passed in states like Ohio, which is proposing to voters a 20 percent tax rate and a limit of only ten production facilities (owned by ten separate wealthy investors), things like outdoor grows will be outlawed and home grows will be limited to four plants. Research into cannabis efficacy, as well as the development of innovative medical strains of the plant, may be hampered. California will face robust tax rate debates and whether limits should be imposed on outdoor gardens.
The Bloomberg Politics poll comes on the heels of a more robust Pew Research Center study that revealed that 53 percent of Americans favor full marijuana legalization. 41 percent of those responding said their reason for supporting legalization was marijuana’s value as a medicine.
Additional states in the near future will join the bandwagon of those allowing robust medical marijuana programs. While support remains higher for medical marijuana laws than recreational legalization, the number of states participating in both recreational and medical legalization efforts is surely on the rise.
When even traditionally conservative swing states like Ohio join the game, the direction of this trend becomes clear: States need tax revenues to repair deteriorating roads, bridges, and schools, while arguments against allowing very sick sufferers of epilepsy, MS, Crohn’s, AIDS, and cancer to treat themselves with (or be prescribed) cannabis are increasingly considered inhumane and unjust.