Marijuanamerica: Why America Loves Weed

Author, ‘Marijuanamerica: One Man’s Quest to Understand America’s Dysfunctional Love Affair with Weed’
Against all odds, more than seventy-five years after the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act, and after millions of marijuana arrests during the combined drug wars of Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and even Obama, weed somehow seems to be winning. More than a third of the U.S. population has admitted they’ve tried it, and a third of the states have legalized it for medical purposes. Our current president admits he not only smoked pot but inhaled it, and megamoguls like Ted Turner, Mike Bloomberg, and Steve Jobs (R.I.P.) have all enthusiastically hit the hookah.
The media now treats marijuana as commonplace. Smash-hit movies show characters smoking pot as if they were taking a sip of Cabernet¬†[1], and Showtime has based an entire TV series,¬†Weeds, on the premise that marijuana is an integral part of American suburban life. Polls consistently show that over 70 percent of Americans support legalized medical marijuana, and a 2012 Rasmussen Reports poll found that 56 percent of Americans would support legalizing and regulating marijuana in a similar manner to alcohol and tobacco. If that doesn’t qualify as a tipping point, how about the fact that weed is the country’s top cash crop. According to a 2006 study, cannabis is valued at $35.8 billion per year, effectively bitch-slapping the combined value of two traditional American crops — corn ($23.3 billion) and wheat ($7.5 billion).
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