The quest to legalize marijuana has been long and arduous. For over 40 years the legalization movement has been gaining support — from 12% public support in 1969 to roughly 50% support in 2011 — more people than ever are in favor of legalization. According to the graphic below, these numbers rise astronomically to 70% in favor of legalizing doctor-prescribed marijuana. Still, state and federal lawmakers are among the minority of supporters. Many believe in the criminalization of marijuana, regardless of its proven track record for being a better alternative — and less grim reaper friendly — than prescription drugs and legal self-medication.
Medical marijuana is still considered illegal by 34 state governments, and a few key federal agencies. Prescription drugs approved by the FDA and widely marketed by the pharmaceutical industry are routinely prescribed instead of marijuana – Adderal, Ritalin, Wellbutrin, and Viagra – and have caused thousands of fatalities. Legal self-medications — alcohol and tobacco — kill hundreds of thousands of people; while marijuana maintains last place at the bottom of the death pyramid, with 0 kills. TakePart looks to trace the disconnect between the majority in favor of legalization, and the minority criminalization views held by the federal and state governments.
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