Nate Silver introduces some data into the debate:
Suppose we are in a world in which: (i) members of the pre-Baby Boom generation are eventually replaced in the electorate by Millennials, who have relatively liberal views on marijuana; and (ii) nobody else ever changes their views on marijuana, other than if they have children, when some of them go from being in favor of legalization to against it.
In this world which is a reasonable model of America in 2010 support for marijuana initiatives would continue to increase for a few years until adults now over the age of 60 were no longer a significant part of the population. Then it would enter some sort of steady state.
...my back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that support would tap out at something on the order of 45-47 percent nationally. Of course, 45 percent support nationwide would probably translate to better than 50 percent support in states like California, Oregon, Nevada, New York, Vermont and so forth. But it probably would not lead to a world in which, for instance, the Democratic nominee for President were willing to support marijuana legalization as part of his platform (and certainly not the Republican one)
(Photo: Michel Porro/Getty)
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