Brookings Institute Webcast: The Politics Of Marijuana Legalization

Update: Watch the very interesting panel discussion—where the major take away point from the data and interpretation of it is that it unlikely that the country will return to a time when a majority of Americans support cannabis prohibition law enforcement.

Watch video here.

Also and maybe of far greater significance is the white paper by Brookings scholars William Galston and E.J. Dionne, Jr., The New Politics of Marijuana Legalization: Why Opinion is Changing’. It is an extraordinarily well researched and data-rich paper that well demonstrates a very large, and apparently sustainable shift in public attitude about cannabis, moving from one of great intolerance twenty-five years ago to one of seeking alternative public policies to prohibition, such as decriminalization and legalization.

I highly commend any one serious-minded about cannabis law reform to read and archive the paper.

Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 29 from 2:00-3:30 PM (eastern), the Brookings Institute is holding its second in a series of public policy review panels examining the ever-evolving changes of cannabis laws—mainly at the state level, with little-to-no federal reforms—where state legislatures and/or voters have voted to replace prohibition laws with decriminalization, medical access to cannabis or outright legalization.

The first panel discussion in April co-sposored by Washington Office on Latin America and Brookings examined the stark changes in state law and if current federal laws allow states to in effect experiment with cannabis legalization. See Brookings white paper on state and federal conflict here.

This second panel in the series looks at the emerging public polling data, along with vote totals in states with binding initiatives, which strongly indicate a profound shift in public attitude about cannabis in favor of it’s reform and what are the political implication for federal lawmakers.

At no time in previous history is there greater public and political support for legalization than right now. This public policy series at Brookings reflects the need to cast sober and dispassionate policy analysis, coupled with acknowledgement of change in public sentiment, in the fast changing public policy  realm that elected policy makers and their staff; media and academics need to be made fully aware as the country apparently morphs from seventy-five years of cannabis prohibition, to one of ‘tax-n-control’.

If you can’t attend in person, Brookings and WOLA are making this important public panel discussion on cannabis legalization available via webcast.

From Brookings’ press release:

Last November, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana, and they may not be the last: legalization now has the support of about half the country, up from 25 percent two decades ago. But legalization remains controversial among the public and contrary to federal law and policy. Is a new national consensus emerging, or a new stage of the culture war? Either way, what are the implications?

On May 29, Governance Studies at Brookings and the Washington Office on Latin America will host a public forum to discuss changing attitudes towards marijuana legalization. Brookings Senior Fellows William Galston and E.J. Dionne will present findings of a detailed study of evidence from opinion surveys, some of it newly available. Two experts on politics and public opinion will comment. After the program, speakers will take audience questions.

Panelists include: Senior Fellows at Brookings William Galston and E.J. Dionne, Jr.,; Pollster Anna Greenberg and RealClear Politics Sean Trend

Moderated by Senior Fellow at Brookings Jonathan Rauch

This event will be live webcast.

Register here for the live webcast.

Register here to attend the event in person.

Follow the conversation at #MJLegalization.

9 thoughts

  1. Someone released a study yesterday that says more children are showing up in ERs after having invested medical marijuana after states like Colorado passed reform laws. They say that, because medical marijuana is sold in cookie form,, that this entices kids and so is horribly dangerous so we must re-institute Prohibition laws ASAP.

    I have no doubt that their statistics are true. However, their conclusions are totally false. The net harm caused to society by marijuana Prohibition far outweighs the alternative harm of liberty.

    For example, yesterday, because of drug Prohibition, thousands of people were arrested for posession, some of which may face long prison sentences, and some may have been killed. Also over $100 Million was wasted to support the massive police and legal apparatus.

    And this idea that medicine in cookies is evil begs the question of why then have they never demanded the end of the Pharmaceutical use of candy-shaped pills? The medical outcome of every child who ingested medical marijuana was positive. I wish that I could say the same for kids who ate the candy-like pills.

  2. At a time in the economic conjuncture, the economic cycle, when the economy is not producing nearly enough good-paying jobs with good benefits, more people look to not only the jobs that the cannabis sector can provide in terms of revenues but also in terms of savings by calling off the witch hunt.

    Another factor here is that older people who tend to buy into the government’s line on prohibition hook, line and sinker are dying off.

    Another factor yet is that creative people tend to have alternative lifestyles, so it’s no wonder that polls in favor of things creative people want such as legal weed and gay marriage are on the upswing. CEOs and business administration majors are not the likely intellectuals and entrepreneurs who create and develop new products that create new jobs. They’re the bean counters. The Al Dunlaps of the world are basically chainsawing jobs overseas or eliminating them outright. Who’s the next Steve Jobs? The next Bill Gates? But for jobs that stay here in America?

    The situation raises the question as to whether the marijuana pendulum is swinging toward the legalization end of the cannabis continuum and will swing back once the public gets a booming economy and the jobs that go with it. Will people change their minds once they get what they want, and then the pendulum starts swinging back toward the prohibition end of the continuum? The feds would certainly like that. When that starts to happen, it’s likely that because the people most opposed to legalization are dying off that the nation is in a new stage of the culture war and that the pendulum will not go far enough to support the federal prohibition.

    The system has simply created too many cannabis martyrs.

    Think you could get this on one of the C-SPANs?

    [Editor’s note: One of the initial public policy panels at Brookings was broadcast on C-Span. Hopefully other ones will be too.]

  3. I think it has more to do with the fact that people are better informed today, than our elders were. The power of information, has shaken the core of lies that surround prohibition.
    anyone who spends 5 minutes reading about it, can easily see that the benefits of mj as a medicine far outweigh many conventional medicines.
    stigma will no longer work, the people have learned the truth………

  4. I just watched this and it was great. The findings on the most part is that as we all already knew, marijuana is much safer than alcohol. DUH! Add 4 more big population States and it’s over. Florida already has the funds to be put on the ballot for 2014 but could use some guidance. Ohio already has the ballot passed for gathering of signatures. They need help getting the needed signatures. 70% YES votes in Ohio waiting for a chance to vote. New York clearly has the votes needed for medical, and maybe even full legal. Just needs a chance to vote for it. Minnesota also has the votes needed to pass medical, just needs the chance to vote for it. Turn these 4 high population States Green in 2014 and the Feds will vote to allow States to decide as they did alcohol. We’re talking next year if we give it one more push with these 4 States that should about do it.

  5. Reply to Oracle, I’ve read what you have written and almost agree with everything. If people want jobs created then lobby against capitalism and so called “economic assassins” that hold our public officials hostage.Then and only then the people will have a somewhat fairer shot at getting in with the “Green Rush” and a better way of life..I am considered a “lower class citizen” only by monetary value by the way.. Otherwise Corporate America will lobby to take over the industry and we all know how that will end. Overpriced and uncared for product.. Probably even though it sounds sinacle,they would get rid of the most useful and healing strains to further promote Pharma and Friends.. I hope our voices our heard that is the only shot we have is their conscious.

  6. Cannabis has been creating the wrong jobs for 7 decades. They are some of the best paying and have some of the best social respect benefits in our social control experiment that has morphed into a quasi-police state. Soldiers who have risked their lives protecting this nation’s interests have had their lives and future eliminated by the executive who never served simply because they published a negative perspective of the lead civil servant. With our nation’s administration showing that anything goes and “I didn’t know that.” is a viable public acknowledgment of responsibility, expecting justice from this leadership is an unforgiven bias akin to placing the ostritch’s head into the sand for facing fear and change.

  7. Marijuana is a harmless substance. There is not one anecdotal or documented death in thousands of years of history. Also, in Jamaica, pregnant women use marijuana and marijuana tea is given to infants. Marijuana is also harmless to children…not that I recommend them using it, just that if they get into it unintentionally, as reported in Colorado, and as reported by the hospitals in Colorado, 100% have favorable outcomes. The honest truth is that you should fear your children getting into your pharmaceutical cabinet more than into marijuana, even if all you have is aspirin.

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