Marriage, Marijuana And Millennials

May 30 2012 @ 12:33pm

A Dish threadgasm! Even Dreher sees overlap:

I’m wondering if the erosion of the strict taboo against drug use, at least in one’s youth, has to do with the fact that so many of us have known, or at least been around, marijuana users for a long time. We know that most people can use the stuff without ruining their lives, or disqualifying themselves from public service. If so, then it tracks with the erosion of the taboo against homosexuality among younger Americans, who have had more direct experience of being around gay people.

I think the fact that the drug clearly has helped people deal with otherwise crippling illnesses has played a part too. Here's one of Rod's readers reacting:

I have multiple sclerosis.  It's not every day that I smoke, but on tough days a few hits from a bowl does more to relieve my symptoms than any liver damaging pill prescribed by my doctors.  If people condemn us for doing what works… well, that says more about their character than it does ours.

Ann Romney also has MS.  I would love to hear her opinion on medical cannabis.

Recall that the federal government insists that there is no medical use for this drug whatsoever, and that it is as dangerous as heroin. I think most people, as Rod notes, know this to be untrue. They see more damage from alcohol than from cannabis. And so real popular support for prohibiting cannabis isn't there. The passion is on the anti-Prohibition side, and the arguments are there as well. In that sense, this is just like the marriage equality movement. Hence these two graphs, which are effectively identical. Here's the trend on pot:

Screen shot 2012-05-29 at 7.29.51 PM

Here's the trend on marriage equality:

Screen shot 2012-05-29 at 7.31.36 PM

In both cases, the trend is reinforced by generational change:

Support for legalizing marijuana is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62% approval among those 18 to 29 down to 31% among those 65 and older. Liberals are twice as likely as conservatives to favor legalizing marijuana. And Democrats and independents are more likely to be in favor than are Republicans.

Which is exactly the dynamic with marriage equality. Which is why Obama's DEA acting like Bush's against dispensaries and pot farms is so perplexing. Doesn't Obama understand that this issue is his new coalition's issue.

At some point in his second term, if he gets one, Obama might do for cannabis use what he just did for marriage equality: mainstream it. Well, I can hope, can't I?