Monday, April 7, 2014
75 Percent of Americans Think that Legalization is Inevitable
The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, found that more Americans are in favor of doing away with laws that would mandate jail time, especially for individuals possessing small amounts of the drug.
“Even people who don’t favor the legalization of marijuana think the possession of small amounts shouldn’t result in jail time,” said Carroll Doherty, Pew’s Director of Political Research.
The mindset of many Americans has changed in a relatively short period of time. Just four years ago, 52 percent of Americans were not in favor of legalization. This year, 54 percent are for legalization, with only 42 percent opposed to it. At least 30 states have modified penalties for drug crimes since 2009.
What’s interesting is that despite a majority of Americans favoring legalization, many remain concerned about the potential for abusing the drug. In fact, 32 percent of those surveyed called it a crisis and 55 percent said it is a serious national problem. With 54 percent thinking that legalization would lead to more underage people experimenting with marijuana.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has testified in favor of reducing the average sentence for drug dealers. The Obama Administration supports changing guidelines, which would reduce drug sentences by about one year, from 62 months to 51 months, according to Holder.
It is hard to say what will happen, but if this trend continues, it's likely that federal legalization will be a reality before this decade is over. It will be interesting to see how the federal government deals with the inevitability of this, at times volatile, situation.