Is pot the new gay marriage?

Sanjay's just voting with the public. (Gallup)
Sanjay's just voting with the public. (Gallup)

In a pretty dramatic reversal for someone who nearly became America's surgeon general, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta has come out in favor of medical marijuana. While working on a documentary called "Weed," he talked to people suffering chronic pain who'd been helped by smoking pot, and looked closer at the smaller studies in foreign countries that show its benefits.

"We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that," he wrote. "I hope this article and upcoming documentary will help set the record straight."

It's one of the first high-profile evolutions on the subject of marijuana -- following evangelical leader Pat Robertson and Mexican President Vicente Fox -- but Gupta's no longer out of step with the American public. Support for legalization has been steadily rising for decades, reaching 50 percent last year before falling slightly. The trend mirrors that of another hot-button social issue: Same-sex marriage, which became more and more accepted as Americans came to know gays and lesbians as friends and relatives. In the run-up to this spring's historic Supreme Court case, politician after politician announced their support for gay weddings, some because a son or daughter had come out. And with more states legalizing pot for medical use, the likelihood of knowing someone who has benefited from it -- not your stereotypical stoner -- increases as well.

Finally, pot and gay marriage also share strong support from libertarians, who are so trendy right now. If only there were a court case that could resolve the issue once and for all.

Lydia DePillis is a reporter focusing on labor, business, and housing. She previously worked at The New Republic and the Washington City Paper. She's from Seattle.
Continue reading
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Business

business

wonkblog

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters