Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 31, 2015

Why Aren’t Lawmakers Fired Up About Marijuana?

Aaron Blake and Sean Sullivan examine why lawmakers are reluctant to endorse the legalization of recreational marijuana despite a surge in popular support for legalization (as high as 58% according to a recent Gallup poll).

Marijuana’s popularity is very new. You can bet that any governor or lawmaker who might, in his or her heart of hearts, support the idea of legal weed is more than happy to see Colorado and Washington take a stab at it before they do.

The payoff is minimal. While a majority supports legalizing marijuana, lawmakers might stand to lose more than they stand to gain by supporting it. That’s because issues like this are all about intensity.

It’s not a hot-button issue, period. Marijuana isn’t really a big deal for supporters, but the fact is that it’s not really a big deal for opponents right now, either.

  • MVH1

    It will be interesting to see how it goes for Colorado and Washington for the next year. If it goes well, with the money at stake, it’s likely to spread quickly to other states.

  • MVH1

    Marijuana’s popularity is very new? Hahahahaha, another one who doesn’t know a thing about marijuana.

  • philsci

    It’s not a big deal for supporters? That’s strictly a beltway view. The cannabis laws are the central mechanism of the culture war which conservatives have been waging in this country since the days of Nixon. This is a huge issue with global implications.

    • politicsjunkie

      Well said!

  • Cynthia Allaire

    The big banks chronically engaged in drug money laundering and the prison industrial complex profiting from high incarceration rates and slave labor haven’t desired decriminalization/legalization, since it threatens their profits, with billions at stake annually. The politicians accepting campaign contributions from these profiteers will reflect their purposes with some “moral” window-dressing.

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