By Greg James
When you have a minute, pull up a map of the U.S. that shows which states allow same-sex marriages. Then pull up a map of marijuana legalization, including both medical and recreational uses.
It probably comes as little surprise that those two maps bear a striking resemblance to each other. There are 29 states that allow same-sex marriage, 23 that allow some form of legalized marijuana. The more socially liberal states on the West Coast and in the Northeast have allowed both; the more staunchly conservative states, like Texas, Wyoming and the South, remain adamantly in opposition. But the tide is turning for the better. A place like Texas may hold out until the absolute last possible moment, but it seems imminent that marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage will eventually be allowed nationwide.
Both issues are heavily rooted in the concept of personal freedom, which is one reason many libertarian voters, despite otherwise clashing political views, have supported both causes.
In my opinion, the government shouldn’t have a say who somebody marries, or how — barring activity that’s dangerous to others — somebody enjoys their free time.
The idea that somebody can legally drink a fifth of bourbon, but would be committing a federal crime if they smoke a joint in the privacy of their own home is preposterous.
Being gay or straight shouldn’t have any bearing on whether you can marry anybody you want to. And of course I’m preaching to the choir when it comes to marijuana legalization — but that’s a no-brainer, as well. It’s all about freedom.
And it feels like we’re reaching a critical point of no return.
A poll by ABC News and the Washington Post that was released in October showed 56 percent of Americans approved of the Supreme Court’s action that permitted same-sex marriages to move forward, while only 38 percent disapproved.
Similarly, a variety of recent polls show a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana for the first time in history. One survey done by CivicScience in September asked more than 450,000 U.S. adults whether they would support or oppose a law in their state that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. The response was overwhelmingly pro-cannabis; 58 percent supported marijuana legalization; just 35 percent opposed.
As soon as the gay rights movement began to gain traction, it seemed like there was no going back. In fact, anything else would be in direct contradiction to the immortal words of our Declaration of Independence — that all men are created equal. As a nation, we’ve often been slow to live up to the ideals our great country was founded upon, but that only means we need to be even more resolute, even more vigilant in supporting progress.
The cannabis revolution should follow the same path. As more and more people begin to recognize the social disservice of marijuana criminalization, it becomes easier for each state to broach the subject of ending the prohibition.
And although legalizing marijuana for medicinal use is a first step, it really is just that. The next step needs to be legalization for all adults. Just as marriage shouldn’t be a right granted to some individuals, neither should the right of safely and responsibly enjoying marijuana.
If you’re a reader in Oregon or Alaska, do your part! Help the cannabis revolution continue by voting yes on Nov. 4.