If Not Now, When? The Slow Rise of Marijuana Reform

Last month the United States reached a milestone in the debate over cannabis’ place in our society. For the first time since it began asking the question, the Gallup polling organization recorded 50% support for legalizing marijuana sales to adults.

That number has been a long time in the making, as attested by our banner art this month; the trendlines show public support levels from 1970 to the present.

Why now? What’s changed lately to bring so many people around? And where are we going from here?

To discuss these questions, we’ve invited a quartet of marijuana reform activists to a roundtable discussion. Each will present an essay on a different facet of marijuana policy, and our conversation this month will be about political strategy, possible future trends, and the interplay among various sub-issues in the field.

Kicking things off will be Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), writing about the biomedical aspects of cannabis and its prohibition. He will be followed by former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, now with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition; Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of NORML, who will discuss public education and messaging; and Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project, who will discuss upcoming ballot initiatives and legislative developments.

Although each of the four is more or less in the same camp on this issue, each also brings to the table different experiences, different perspectives, and different areas of expertise. We hope you will find a discussion among them educational and thought-provoking.