But the CSM, gender-blind, speculates thusly:
The dramatic change in public opinion, experts say, has been driven by pop culture and generational shifts, and also a simple reality. While pot is illegal, it is common at parties and concerts....There's one more step needed in this analysis, and it's why I changed my mind. There's too much legal disorder, and it can only be decently cured by changing the federal law. Years ago, the states all agreed with the federal government's ban and helped out with the enforcement. But the states had the power to go their own way, and now that some have, there's a huge enforcement gap, which makes at least some people in those states feel that marijuana is legal. This is confusing to the point of unfairness.
"With the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes legal in about 20 states, and Washington and Colorado voting this November to legalize the drug for recreational use, American voters seem to have a more favorable opinion about this once-dreaded drug," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, told CBS News. "There are large differences on this question among the American people."
Though boosted by successes in Colorado and Washington, pro-marijuana advocates say their toughest challenge is convincing Congress and President Obama to declassify pot as a Schedule 1 drug – or at least to ensure that Congress doesn't interfere with state experimentation on marijuana taxation. After all, Mr. Obama allowed his Justice Department to begin a crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries despite a campaign promise to not do so....
I don't like the federal government lurking in the background and sending mixed signals about whether it will or will not enforce. Those who aren't too risk averse or who are not big rule-followers get to use a product that more timorous or punctilious individuals feel they're not allowed to use. And the medical marijuana approach makes it even worse, creating absurd temptations to lie and dissemble and even fantasize about ailments and the curative effect of the drug.
It's a mess that can only cleaned up by legalizing the drug at the federal level and letting the states take over the lawmaking and law enforcement.