Former President Jimmy Carter spoke out in support of the new marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington states during a CNN panel discussion. Carter thinks it is great that the two states are experimenting with it so that the rest of the country can watch and judge to see if it is a policy that should be adopted more widely. From the transcripts:

[CNN ANCHOR SUZANNE] MALVEAUX: What do you make of the legalization of marijuana and the states that have legalized marijuana?

[JIMMY] CARTER: I’m in favor of. I think it’s OK. I’m — I don’t think it’s going to happen in Georgia yet –

(LAUGHTER)

But I think — I think we can watch and see what happens in the state of Washington, for instance, around Seattle. And let the American government and let the American people see does it cause a serious problem or not.

All drugs were decriminalized in Portugal about 10 years ago and the use of drugs has done gown dramatically and nobody’s been put in prison. So I think a few places around the world is good to experiment with and also a few states in America are good to take the initiative and try something out. That’s the way our country’s developed over the last 200 years, is by a few states being experiment stations. On that basis, I’m in favor of it.

Carter has long supported a saner drug policy. For decades Carter has supported the idea of decriminalizing marijuana, but now he is publicly speaking out in support of full legalization efforts.

This once again shows how important the approval of the two marijuana legalization initiatives have been in changing the entire national discourse around drug policy. Marijuana legalization has gone from a once unthinkable idea to a policy which is now being implemented as we speak. The fact that the voters in two states so overwhelmingly supported the change is making it much easier for politicians, government officials, and prominent public figures to speak out in support of the idea.