Editor's Note: Sunday, March 22, is Substance Abuse Prevention Sunday.
WASHINGTON (BP) – The growing support for legalizing marijuana among Americans and their lawmakers remains unwise but not unexpected, Southern Baptist ethicists say.
Marijuana's inroads have been demonstrated already in March by a new public opinion poll that shows for the first time a majority in the United States favors legalization of the drug. In addition, Democratic and Republican senators introduced this month for the first time a bill to lift the federal ban on medicinal use of marijuana.
These developments follow the accelerating legalization of marijuana during the last two decades. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, beginning with California in 1996. D.C. and four of those states – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington – also have legalized recreational use of marijuana. Fifteen states – 10 with legalized medical marijuana and five without – have eliminated jail time for possessing small amounts of the drug, according to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).