Gay marriage, women’s rights, recreational cannabis.
Once taboo topics have slowly etched their way into acceptance in America. What’s crazy is marrying someone of a different race (or same-sex), women gaining the right to vote, and even something as simple as grabbing a beer at a bar at some point in American history seemed like they would never happen.
Five years ago, recreational cannabis could’ve been included.
Now, it could be the next big social issue we’ve seen Americans change their mind about.
An analysis of social change pertaining to issues such as interracial marriage, women’s suffrage, prohibition, abortion, same-sex marriage and recreational cannabis use was conducted by Bloomberg and took at look at how each issue went from widespread dissension to acceptance in America.
Interracial Marriage – 180 years (19 years after first action taken)
It technically took 180 years before all 50 states were not allowed to ban interracial marriage. In 1948, California became the first state to rule it was unconstitutional and by 1967, the Supreme Court stepped in an abolished it’s ban in all 50 states.
Prohibition – 74 years (14 years after first action taken)
The 18th Amendment wasn’t enacted until 1920, but several states were already considered “dry” before it. In just a mere 14 years after prohibition’s popularity started to grow, all 31 states at the time banned the sale and production of alcohol. It’s worth noting it was repealed with the 21st Amendment in 1933.
Women’s Suffrage – 30 years (10 years after first action taken)
Wyoming allowed women to vote when it entered as a state, but it wasn’t until 1910 when the National American Woman Suffrage Association began lobbying in several states. Ten years later, the 19th Amendment was passed.
Abortion – 6 years
A slightly different form of social change as abortions became legal after the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade, but a quick form of social change nonetheless.
Same-Sex Marriage – 11 years (2 years after first action taken)
Massachusetts initially ruled the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional in 2004. Gradually since then, a few more states ruled the same way, but in 2013, the Supreme Court stepped in and said same-sex marriages must be recognized. Just two years later, the Supreme Court extended marriage rights fully to same-sex marriages.
Recreational Cannabis – ???
At the moment, 24 states allow the use of medicinal cannabis, with more potentially following suit in 2016 – Florida, we’re looking at you.
But what about recreational cannabis? Four states have legalized its use outright, with several more looking promising enough to join the ranks in the coming years. Nine states – Massachusetts, Nevada, California, New York, Vermont, Minnesota, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island – seem to be the next batch up because of the tremendous amount of support.
Some other states that could legalize recreational cannabis use even sooner than the previous batch are Ohio, Arizona and Michigan.
Ohio seems to be a state where the support for recreational use is steadily rising, Arizona has multiple groups pushing for the legalization of recreational cannabis, while Michigan seems the closest of the three wildcards.
Recreational cannabis use is undoubtedly the next big thing facing the nation in terms of social change and if it’s anything like its predecessors, a nationwide ruling might come sooner than we think.