To add to the list of depressing news for the day, have a look at the sorry fate that the medical marijuana bill in Minnesota suffered.
Nonetheless, I think the wind is blowing in one direction in the US; and that is towards legalization. These are not the wishful words of an optimist but a mere appraisal of the expression of views we are seeing currently. Major newspapers are running pro-legalization opeds like never before, the public attitudes have never been more favorable and if you look at the age-breakup of the polls that are being conducted, it is obvious that change is coming.
I have an almost perfect success rate in previous predictions I have made on this blog, and I am confident that the two I am going to make now will come true.
1) In ten years from now, recreational marijuana use will be either fully legal or decriminalized in more than 35 American states; the federal government will no longer seek to interfere in state policy on this matter; most major US urban cities will be as pot-friendly as Amsterdam is today.
2) On the other hand, regulations against tobacco, unhealthy foods and fatty burgers will get more stringent. Vice taxes associated to those will increase substantially. In ten years from now, it will be hard to light up even in most private owned properties except a few narrowly defined areas. Trans-fat bans will be almost universal. Companies will have much less freedom than now about what they can sell you; this will be done to protect you from your bad choices.
In short, the pro-marijuana legalization winds that are blowing today have less to do with libertarian principles and more to do with what is currently considered ok. Here’s an old post by me on this theme.