Looks like Attorney General Eric Holder is going in the right direction with wanting to change the way we handle low level drug offenders since, according to Pew Research Center, 72 percent of Americans are all “why bother” when it comes to laws against marijuana and enforcing them.
A March Pew Research Center survey on changing attitudes about marijuana found that nearly three-in-four Americans (72%) believed that efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth. And 60% said that the federal government should not enforce federal laws prohibiting the use of marijuana in states where it is legal. (Last fall, voters in two states – Colorado and Washington state – approved the purchase of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use).
While there are partisan differences over legalizing marijuana use and on whether smoking marijuana is morally wrong, there is broad agreement across partisan and demographic groups that government enforcement of marijuana laws is not worth the cost. Fully 78% of independents, 71% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans say government enforcement efforts cost more than they are worth.
This is a big shift considering the War on Drugs has been full steam ahead, contributing to the United States having the largest prison population in the world. The Obama Administrationhas talked a lot about what they’re going to enforce and not enforce and have slowly (very slowly, like a crawl almost) marched towards more leniency. Financially, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to waste time enforcing federal drug laws in states where marijuana is legal (but that’s what the DEA has been doing).
President Obama, like millions of Americans, has admitted to smoking the wacky weed at some point in his life. The only difference is some Americans smoke the weed and become ordinary citizens or President of the United States and other folks do it, get caught, and get a criminal record. It’s grossly unfair, but that’s the system we’ve been operating under where doing drugs is fine as long as you don’t get caught.
Maybe this change in public attitude will lead to a change in policy.