When cannabis was first prohibited with a tax stamp in 1937, very few people actually knew what it was. From that grew a stigma that is still being battled today.
But things are getting better; much better. Taking at a look at some numbers from days gone by can show us just how much attitudes have changed.
For instance, in 1969 only 12% of poll respondents thought marijuana should be legalized. In some polls that number now stands at more than 60%.
In 1971 some 52% of parents said they would turn their child into authorities if they found weed in their room. A survey taken in the same year found that 62% of respondents thought a young person trying marijuana was worse than a middle-aged person getting drunk. Only 24% thought the middle-aged drinking was worse.
Today cannabis is much more accepted, even if much of the stigma remains. By 2013 a majority of people approved of marijuana legalization and that majority continues to grow. Laws are changing across the country, people are energized and the momentum is clearly with those who want to tear down the walls of cannabis prohibition.
What is even more amazing than the changes that have happened over the last 50 years are the changes that have happened over just the last five. While many victories were had before 2012, the bulk of the major victories have come recently. This has led to the momentum we carry into 2016, which will be a historic year for cannabis law reform.
The next 5 years will surely bring a continued shift in attitudes and more acceptance of cannabis. This will bring about more legal and political victories and more freedom for cannabis users. But it’s up to activists and voters to get the job done.