Tucked deep inside the 1,603-page federal spending measure is a provision that effectively ends the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana and signals a major shift in drug policy.Also, I think more significant, as as reported by USA Today:
The bill's passage over the weekend marks the first time Congress has approved nationally significant legislation backed by legalization advocates. It brings almost to a close two decades of tension between the states and Washington over medical use of marijuana.
Marijuana use among teens declined this year even as two states, Colorado and Washington, legalized the drug for recreational use, a national survey released Tuesday found.Of course we can't be certain till we try it, but all evidence (seen in the US, Portugal, and the Netherlands) seems to show that ending prohibition does not increase drug use. This is a big deal because the effect of prohibition versus regulation (ie: legalization) on drug use really is the core issue related to people's support of the drug war.
If ending the drug war lowered drug use -- and it's a big "if" but it's certainly a possibility -- would you still support the war on drugs. Is the war on drugs worth fighting for it's own sake simply because drugs are wrong? Even if that same drug war causes more people to take and be harmed by drugs?
If you can't conceive of how ending the drug war could reduce drug use, consider these factors, in no particular order:
1) Kids love doing what they're not supposed to do.
2) Peer pressure is stronger when you're doing something illegal. To protect yourself, there's greater pressure to implicate everybody.
3) Drugs can be dangerous. Honest education is better at reducing harms than "just say no" and cracked eggs on a frying pan.
4) I've yet to meet anybody who says they would love to try heroin, if only it were legal and regulated. People do or don't take drugs for many reasons, the law seems pretty low on the list.
5) Prohibition doesn't actually work. Drugs are not hard to get.