Federal government dithering stands in the way of marijuana legalization
Even as more states take it upon themselves to end marijuana prohibition, the federal government continues to dither and dawdle on the issue. Blame the entrenched drug war mentality in Congress, and most certainly in the White House. But until Washington gets its act together, prohibition endures:
Major legislation to decriminalize cannabis appears stuck amid opposition from some Republicans and some moderate Democrats. President Biden hasn’t acted on his own campaign-trail promises to decriminalize marijuana and expunge criminal records of users. The White House said cannabis policy is under study, but declined to comment further.
More than two in three Americans support legalizing marijuana, according to a 2021 Gallup poll. That is up from a decade ago, when half of Americans were in favor, Gallup found.
More broadly, the same Gallup poll found that 81% of Republicans described the problem of drugs in the U.S. as extremely or very serious, compared with 54% of Democrats. Some advocates for legal changes to marijuana laws acknowledge that this makes for a challenging political climate as the midterm elections approach and Republicans cast Democrats as soft on crime. Support for relaxing marijuana laws is much higher among Democrats than Republicans, only half of whom support legalization, Gallup found.
Worried more about their own electoral prospects than ending the drug war? Yes, that’s our political class – feckless, gutless, and in the case of marijuana prohibition, utterly clueless.
While the DC crowd fiddles, it’s up to the states to carry on with the necessary work of ending prohibition. And they will probably finish the job long before the DC crowd decides it’s safe to get on board.