In this era of political polarization, when Americans seem to agree on absolutely nothing, let me reassure you. We overwhelmingly agree that cannabis should be legal.
1 in 5 Americans have (state) legal access, 1 in 2 have experimented with it, and more than 1 in 10 smoke regularly. Southern California yuppies are publicly winning prizes for growing the same plant that landed Georgia teenagers in prison.
Half of states allow at least limited use, and a few attract elite cannabis tourism. Federally, the drug remains fiercely criminalized, despite irrefutable evidence of its medical value.
So what’s the hold-up?
Being in the anti-marijuana business is astonishingly lucrative for bureaucrats and campaign donors. Here are just a few of the heavy hitters addicted to federal prohibition:
National Beer Wholesalers Association
Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America
The makers and distributors of America’s top-selling beers, wines, and liquors are already facing stiff competition from newly deregulated microbrewers and craft distilleries.
Cannabis prohibition shuts out a zero-calorie competitor with far fewer short- and long-term health risks. The industry donated (read: invested) $19 million to re-election campaigns in 2016, and another $4 million to soft money groups like “Public Safety First” which specifically oppose cannabis legalization efforts. The efforts here are well documented.