May 4

Going Mental

Sunday’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. 

But will this also move minds in Washington in order to open up medical marijuana research? It will require executive leadership to do that. 


  1. 1 Science Up in Smoke: The Catch-22...
  2. 2 Marijuana Can Trigger Schizophrenia
  3. 3 Penn Jillette: Obama is a Hypocri...
  4. 4 Why The Internet Loves Marijuana
  1. Science Up in Smoke: The Catch-22 of Marijuana Research

    Science Up in Smoke: The Catch-22 of Marijuana Research

    Despite the fact that an estimated one million patients use marijuana as medicine every year, the U.S. has restricted research on marijuana. In other words, we don't know conclusively what its dangers and benefits are. 

    Read More…
  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.

    Read More…
  3. Penn Jillette: Obama is a Hypocrite on Marijuana. Let the People Go!

    Penn Jillette: Obama is a Hypocrite on Marijuana. Let the People Go!

    While he does not do drugs himself, Penn Jillette also does not believe other people should go to jail for "victimless crimes," pointing out that 1 in 6 people in prison in the U.S. today are "in there for weed."

    Read More…
  4. Why The Internet Loves Marijuana

    Why The Internet Loves Marijuana

    In a highly-publicized episode, Reddit defied its parent company Conde Nast and ran pro-marijuana-legalization ads on the site—for free.

    Read More…