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.