You've heard of Gallup, right? The leading opinion pollster in the United States has been tracking attitudes toward marijuana legalization since 1969, when a mere 12 percent of Americans supported it. That figure crept up to 31 percent by 2001. Then last year, Gallup reported that the country was roughly split.
"For the first time," a giddy Gallup said on October 22, a clear majority of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal. HOLY FUCKING SHIT: Fifty-eight percent of people support legalization. That's a 19-point lead over those who think it should be illegal.
I don't want to belabor this point—wait, yes, I do want to belabor this point. I want to belabor the shit out of this point because it's a goddamn wonderful point: Going from an even split to a 19-point lead in one year is a gigantic, rapid leap.
This is obviously the result of Colorado and Washington State legalizing pot last fall. Attitudes probably changed because the sky didn't fall after those states did that, and just having a national debate about legalization helped more folks warm up to legalization (just as ballot measures have done for gay marriage).
But I think there's another, maybe even bigger, impact of two states legalizing pot.
People now see that legalizing pot is possible. Legalization had seemed impossible because it wasn't happening. And now that Team Legalize is winning, people want to join the winning team. It's mainstream. And that means we're closer to stopping roughly 750,000 marijuana arrests every year in the United States.
Plus, the Obama administration declared over the summer that the marijuana industry may proceed without a federal challenge here and in Colorado. That's giving business owners the green light to open up shop. In this edition of The Stranger's Green Guide, we interview folks opening those businesses and talk to people who can't wait to light up come June, when pot stores open. Meanwhile, we turn a hairy eyeball toward the absolutely out-of-line politicians who are trying to gut our medical marijuana law. And we take up the question: What's going to happen to the stoner counterculture now that pot is mainstream? This is new territory we're entering. Edited by DOMINIC HOLDEN