It’s no longer shocking to see headlines where massive numbers of people speak out in support of marijuana legalization. It’s a growing phenomena and as the people increasingly support freeing up pot, the questions about federal involvement similarly increase.
According to the latest poll from Public Policy Polling, people in the District of Columbia are the latest to add their voices to the steady hum of those calling for legalization.
According to the Huffington Post, a survey of 1,621 randomized voters found that 63% of those in D.C. support full legalization and taxation. A whopping 75% support decriminalization, which would reduce penalties for small amounts of marijuana.
But as with other areas in the country, the political climate in D.C. is such that legalization and even decriminalization might not happen anytime soon, at least not through the D.C. Council.
Despite obvious support even before the poll results were released, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) said they simply were not “prepared to go there” because of the conflict with federal drug laws. Like other cautious lawmakers across the country, the federal government has them afraid of potential consequences.
As the poll suggests, a ballot initiative may be the most promising route for marijuana policy change in the District.
The people want marijuana to be legalized. Like alcohol, they want to be able to choose whether or not to imbibe free from governmental involvement. But, the government isn’t quite ready to give up that control. In particular, the federal government doesn’t want to see the states going against what they have deemed to be a serious and addictive Schedule I drug. Because of this, we can’t expect change to come from the “top” down.
The people who want marijuana free will have to lead the way, and a ballot initiative could be just the method. With a growing number of states and localities changing policy, the government will one day not have a choice but to listen.
Both D.C. and Maryland recently passed measures to legalize medical marijuana. The first D.C. dispensary is slated to open in coming months. The medicinal use of marijuana is just one of those baby steps required that may eventually lead to full-on legalization.
In the constant flux of changing marijuana attitudes and laws, being faced with a marijuana crime can present some difficult challenges. Though support is higher than ever, it is still an illegal substance. If you are facing marijuana charges, contact our offices today.