If you can't smell the change in the air, then you should get your sinuses checked. President Donald Trump gave an Oval Office speech early in January doubling down on the government shutdown and restating his dedication to building a wall at the US-Mexico border. I watched it live. About 50 seconds in, my wife stabbed me in the ribs with her elbow. “Did you hear that?” she asked. “Yeah, he said the wall will stop drugs,” I answered. She backed the video up a little bit.
“Our southern border is a pipeline for mass quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl,” Trump said. I still didn't get it. She paused it right as Trump's mouth pursed. One eye was drunkenly half-closed. “He didn't mention marijuana.”
She was right. This tiny omission in a surreal speech might have been one of the biggest signals of change we've seen.
In October of last year, a Gallup poll found that 66 percent of Americans were in favor of legalizing cannabis—around two-thirds of the country. Compare that to results from the poll in 1969, when only 12 percent thought it should be legalized. Of Republicans polled last year, 53 percent supported legalization—
One of the most promising findings in the poll was that legalization support was about even in all US regions, hovering around 65 percent. This is pretty significant, considering it's historically been more accepted in the West than the East.
And all of these boring numbers add up to an accelerating call for reason that politicians will find impossible to ignore in the next election. If the trend that began in the '90s continues, this time next year will see another increase—ideas tend to gather steam once they've become popular, gaining mass at exponential rates.
What's going to happen in 2020 when Trump looks at the simple, color-coded bar graph his aides have prepared and compares the marijuana split to something like the more divisive abortion split (48 percent to 48 percent, according to Gallup)? Will he call it a “no-brainer?” Will he make a weird dad joke about “doobies” that will make everyone in the room visibly uncomfortable?
I'm probably fantasizing too much. Another Gallup poll published in March last year said around 67 percent of Americans want stricter gun laws. A more likely scenario: Trump looks up from the simple, color-coded bar graph his aides have prepared and asks, “What do the donors say?” Policy ensues.
Nevertheless, we are looking at a positive trend. The following Cannabis Manual was built with the intention of encouraging that trend by providing you with raw information. Use it to go out in the world and proselytize. We need all the help we can get.