December 8

Extreme Biology

Saturday’s Big Idea

Today's Big Idea: The Body Politic

Public opinion in the U.S. has now decisively turned in favor of legalizing marijuana, with 57 percent in favor. Colorado and Washington are the first two states to legalize the drug, and both states will be watched closely to see how successful their above ground regulations work.

We will also be watching the U.S. Department of Justice to see whether or not it leaves Colorado and Washington alone to implement policies that represent the will of the people (both laws were the result of state referendums that passed with broad support). 

So what is the big idea behind this historic development in the drug war? Why has public opinion moved the way that it has -- a 28-point swing in 5 years? According to Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a big part of the reason has been the success of medical marijuana. States were allowed to regulate it and people realized that the sky didn't fall, Nadelmann says. The public also was introduced to the new face of the marijuana consumer. It wasn't a teenager with dreadlocks smoking a joint. It was an older person using the drug "whether to medicate for multiple sclerosis or cancer or even just something for their aches and pains or PTSD." That moved a lot of minds. 

  1. 1 Obama's Pot Dilemma: Is It Time t...
  2. 2 Marijuana Can Trigger Schizophrenia
  3. 3 The Highs and Lows of Legalized M...
  4. 4 The Best War on Drugs? No War at All
  1. Obama's Pot Dilemma: Is It Time to Evolve?

    Obama's Pot Dilemma: Is It Time to Evolve?

    Ethan Nadelmann, a leading expert on drug policy, sees evidence that Obama is willing to move in "a somewhat new direction" on drug policy. 

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  2. Marijuana Can Trigger Schizophrenia

    Marijuana Can Trigger Schizophrenia

    The molecular biologist believes that a predisposition to schizophrenia is 100% genetic. Certain environmental factors, like smoking marijuana, can trigger the mental disorder.

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  3. The Highs and Lows of Legalized Marijuana

    The Highs and Lows of Legalized Marijuana

    Professor Carl Hart says wide-scale marijuana legalization is a thorny issue, but he thinks we need to continue investigating the drug's therapeutic potential.

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  4. The Best War on Drugs? No War at All

    The Best War on Drugs? No War at All

    The former Mexican presidential candidate criticizes the incumbent, Calderón, for persisting in a “lousy” and “unwinnable” battle against drugs.

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