While the country remains relatively split on whether they want marijuana to be legal, according a new poll from the Third Way, there is overwhelming consensus that the Congress should leave the issue up to the states.
On the basic question of whether nor not marijuana should be legal, the poll found 50 percent are in support and 47 percent are opposed. There is a strong partisan divide on legalization with roughly two-thirds of Democrats in favor but only a third of Republicans feel the same way.
When it comes to how the public wants Congress to deal with marijuana opinions, though, there is clearly bipartisan support for the federal government turning over control. From the Third Way:
- 67% of voters said Congress should pass a bill giving states that have legalized marijuana a safe haven from federal marijuana laws, so long as they have a strong regulatory system, and;
- When given an option of state or federal control, a clear majority of the electorate believes states should control and decide whether to legalize marijuana (60% state control compared to 34% federal government enforcement).
This is effectively how the federal government has dealt with alcohol for the last eight decades. The 21st amendment simply gave the states the option to permit alcohol sales or continue prohibition at the state level. Many states actually kept their alcohol prohibition going for several years after the 21st amendment was ratified.
Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy, on sale for just $0.99