November 6th was not only a success for President Obama and the Democratic Party; it was also a success for marijuana legalization advocates, as two states legalized recreational marijuana.
The debate about drug use and the so-called war on drugs in America has been happening for decades. On Tuesday, Alex discussed the need to approach the war from a different angle. While safety fears are legitimate, the growing prison population, exploding legal costs, and number Americans favoring the legalization indicate that the current approach is failing. As Benjamin Wallace-Wells highlights in his New York Magazine article, “Marijuana has remained mostly illegal, even as many Americans have come to consider it harmless and normal, and so it now occupies a uniquely ambiguous place in American law and life”.
Even with the recent votes in Colorado and Washington, logistical questions remain. With states struggling to balance their budget and control incarceration numbers, basic policy reviews are taking place across the country. The benefits of a new approach may outweigh the consequences of continuing the current tactics. And with public opinion shifting, will the President be the one who leads the U.S. away from the war on drugs?