The Portland Press Herald is reporting an interesting shift in public view of marijuana legalization. A national survey was done in April by the Pew Research Center shows that more than half of the participants now support legalizing marijuana. The survey explains that 1,501 Americans throughout the country were asked their opinion on legalizing pot and 52% said that they were in favor. When you compare this statistic to the 12% who were in favor of in in 1969, this is a huge increase.
These results are particularly interesting to those of us who are following the upcoming vote on legalizing marijuana in Portland. If this measure passes, it will become legal for adults over the age of 21 to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. No one knows for sure what the outcome will be, but the signatures needed for getting this measure to a vote were easily collected and the outcome of this survey is leading people to believe that it may in fact pass.
Proponents of this law come from many different sources, including The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. They believe that legalization of small amounts of marijuana will lead to a decrease in incarceration rates. There are even ads for the legalization measure on Portland public transit. Not that they haven't been meet with some objections. As a whole, this shows a change in opinion and general acceptance of marijuana use. If this measure does not pass in November, it would not be hard to imagine some form of pot legalization being passed in Maine in the near future.
It is noteworthy to mention, that though this measure in Portland would legalize possession of pot in small amounts, selling any amount of marijuana will still be illegal even if it is only in very small portions. If this measure is successful, it will be interesting to see if these laws change as well.