Colorado, Oregon and Washington are all rolling out ballot measures that could legalize the use of marijuana, be it for medical or recreational purposes. Rolling Stone writer Julian Brookes has written a cogent piece on what the likely consequences will be. Will wins in any of the states be enough of a tipping point to enable politicians to discuss federal legalization without committing career suicide? I wouldn’t count on it:
But don’t expect too much there. Last year, Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul introduced the first-ever federal legalization bill. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon; another Frank bill, the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, which would leave enforcement of medical pot to the states, has been kicking around the Hill since 1997, but has never made it to a vote. “Congress is several years behind the general public on this,” says Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat and a co-sponsor of both bills. But even congress is starting to come around. When he first came to Washington, in 2009, there were only “a handful” of lawmakers prepared to stand up for more liberal drug laws, says Polis. Today, most Democrats are on board.