A sitting President just publicly acknowledged that marijuana use is less dangerous than alcohol and the President is not alone in now holding this opinion. According to a recent CNN poll, an incredible 73 percent of Americans now understand that marijuana is safer than alcohol.
This shift in opinion is a huge victory for organizations like Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) founded by Mason Tvert back in 2005 and the resulting book Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? In retrospect it maybe the most important book for helping to spread support for legalization at the beginning of the 21st century.
Instead of focusing primarily on the economic benefits of legalization or the libertarian case for personal autonomy SAFER promoted the science proving marijuana is simply much less dangerous than alcohol. Once people realize marijuana is safer it logically leads to the question: why is marijuana the one that is illegal?
Highlighting the relative safety of marijuana attacks the very heart of prohibition. The war on pot has always been driven by emotion and fear, not logical arguments. The early propaganda against marijuana was all about lying about its danger. Fear makes it hard for people to listen to reason, which is why it has been the core of some of the world’s most successful propaganda campaigns.
Ending marijuana prohibition first requires using facts to destroy decades of false information meant to scare people from thinking logically about the issue. Based on the news this month I would say this first stage has been won.