A majority of Americans continue to support the legalization of marijuana, according to the latest Gallup poll. Although the 51 percent majority is down from last years 58 percent, Americans have favored legalization since 2011.
Another poll commissioned by Third Way, found that 60 percent of Americans want the federal government to allow states to decide marijuana laws. The poll found that 67 percent of voters said Congress should pass a bill giving states that have legalized marijuana a safe haven from federal marijuana laws, so long as hey have a strong regulatory system.
Additionally, the Third Way poll shows an overwhelming 78 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing individuals to use marijuana if a doctor recommends it.
As for exactly how the federal government could grant a safe haven for legalized marijuana, look toward a study done by the UCLA Law Review. The Washington Post says the study shows that Congress could allow states to opt out of the Controlled Substance Act provisions relating to marijuana, provided they comply with regulatory guidelines issued by the Department of Justice.
Today, 23 states have legalized medical marijuana. Colorado and Washington voted to allow recreational use in 2012. Last month, Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C. voters passed ballot initiatives to allow recreational use.
However, according to the National Journal, Congress plans to block the recently passed ballot in D.C. Their plan is to include a provision in the spending bill that prohibits any taxpayer funds to carry out marijuana legalization. The spending bill must be passed in both the House and the Senate by midnight tonight in order to avoid a government shutdown.
Considering that conservatives are still opposed to marijuana legalization, with only 31 percent favoring in the latest Gallup poll, it is hard to see any positive legislation for marijuana in the near future. The Republicans will have a majority in both the House and the Senate, which will prolong the marijuana debate, despite increasing local and national support for marijuana legalization.