One of the many ironies of Republican politics these days is that the party that most favors states’ right also is least inclined to let states where marijuana has been legalized avoid enforcement of federal laws against the weed.
Marijuana use for medical purposes is now legal in 18 states, and two of those states also have made the stuff legal for recreational use. But the federal Controlled Substances Act makes marijuana use illegal under any circumstances.
Naturally, a question arises: Should the feds crack down on the use of pot in states where it’s been made legal? Those who say yes, according to polls, more commonly live in the South than in other parts of the country. That’s the same South where the principle of states’ rights is most sacred. That’s also the same South where the Republican Party most commonly holds sway.
But this hypocrisy isn’t likely to prevail in the long run. Polls also show a significant trend in recent years toward widespread favor for legalizing pot. If the trend continues — and there’s no reason to think it won’t — Southerners and Republicans are going to have live with the fact that some of their fellow Americans are getting high without fear of criminal sanctions.
Another factor in all of this is that opponents of legalizing marijuana tend to be older folks. And older folks tend to die off at a faster rate than younger folks. So, the issue of pot, like the issue of gay marriage, is steadily going the way of liberal reform with each day’s death toll from old age.