Will Weed Ever Be Fully Legal?

BY BRYAN LUIS // MARCH 17, 2014 //

Social acceptance of marijuana usage is on the rise. A Gallup survey last fall showed that a majority of Americans—58 percent, in fact—think the drug should be legalized.

In Washington and Colorado, marijuana is legal for recreational use. Both states made the move in 2012, following voter referendums. That same year, voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly supported a ballot initiative to legalize medicinal marijuana in the Bay State.

But could Massachusetts and other states soon also legalize recreational use of weed?

I believe marijuana should be legal, and not just because I’m a college student. Sure, events like Hempfest and the music of 311 and Wiz Khalifa have become major parts of pop culture and many college students’ lives, but that’s not a good enough reason.

A better reason is that there is a lot of money to be made. According to a story by The Associated Press, Washington economic forecasters in Olympia have predicted that the state could generate $190 million in revenue from recreational use of marijuana. That’s a staggering number in terms of potential state resources.

This isn’t to say marijuana is danger free. Many people regard it as a gateway drug. Many people also believe alcohol, caffeine and tobacco products are bad. They are all legal, though.

Marijuana is legal for medical purposes in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Is full-fledged legalization really that far off? Perhaps.

The first-ever network TV advertisement for a medical marijuana company is scheduled to air soon. It’s already making waves online. But the fact that it took this long—even though medical marijuana was first legalized 18 years ago, in California—says something potent: change is always slow.

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