Eve Conant reports on the change in attitude:
Certainly, the Republican Party is a long way from becoming the Pot Party. Although a handful of conservative thinkers like Milton Friedman, George Shultz, and William F. Buckley have argued the merits of legalization over the years (Buckley even mocked those who called marijuana a gateway to addiction, saying it was “on the order of saying that every rapist began by masturbating”), most Republicans still oppose the idea. In the latest NEWSWEEK Poll, only 25 percent of Republicans nationwide favor legalization of pot in their state, compared with 55 percent of Democrats.
Nonetheless, conservative attitudes are changing at the grassroots level (no pun intended). The percentage of Republicans in favor of legalizing marijuana has risen quickly since 2005, jumping 7 points. And as their constituents have moved on the issue, more Republican candidates and lawmakers are refusing to toe the party line.