Where the United States leads Australia often follows. And legalisation of marijuana is now receiving sympathetic treatment on the front page of that conservative organ The Washington Post. So get ready for politicians here to start advocating an alternative to the still predominant John Howard policy of zero-tolerance to all illegal drugs.
Since the 1960s, the United States has traveled on a herkyjerky trip from hippies and head shops to grass-roots backlash by suburban parents, from enthusiastic funding of the war on drugs to a gathering consensus that the war had little effect on marijuana use. Now, for the first time, marijuana legalization is winning majority support in public opinion polls and a drug used by about 6 percent of Americans— and one-third of the nation’s high school seniors — is starting to shake off its counterculture reputation. It is winning acceptance even from some police, prosecutors and politicians.