Earlier this week, the City Council of Lewiston, Maine voted unanimously to send an initiative that would make possession of marijuana legal for adults to the voters.
Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 1,250 signatures to get the measure in front of the council, which had the options of adopting it or placing it on the ballot. Just 859 valid signatures of registered city voters were required. A similar measure will appear on the November ballot in South Portland, and the group has submitted more than the number of signatures required to place one on the ballot in York.
The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public. The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.
A Rasmussen poll released earlier this week about Americans’ attitudes toward marijuana didn’t reveal any surprising changes in levels of support for reform—43% favor ending prohibition, just slightly less than the 44% Gallup found last October—but it did contain this one interesting nugget:
However, 65% believe it is at least somewhat likely marijuana will be legalized in the United States in the next 10 years. Just 28% do not expect this to happen.
That’s fascinating. If the majority of Americans come to think that marijuana legalization is inevitable, could that make it a self-fulfilling prophecy? Could many otherwise neutral or indifferent voters be encouraged to support reform because they want to be on the winning side? Would that make opponents mellow in their resistance? Whether or not there’s merit to the idea, reformers can’t become complacent. There’s still a lot that needs to happen before we finally turn the page on the failure of marijuana prohibition—including winning some of these ballot measures in November.
Such victories will only advance the perception that prohibition’s days are nearing an (inevitable) end.