Here’s something interesting I read about recently. Support for the legalization of marijuana has been growing for a long time among U.S. residents. And now Gallup has released this interesting poll about marijuana, including this interesting tidbit:
If public support were to continue growing at a rate of 1% to 2% per year, as it has since 2000, the majority of Americans could favor legalization of the drug in as little as four years.
This majority would consist largely of people in the west and east. In the western region of the U.S., a majority already support legalization, and in the east, 44 percent are in favor of decriminalizing weed. Support is much weaker in the midwest and south regions. But the fact remains, we could, as a country, be mostly in favor of legalizing marijuana by 2014.
What does this have to do with Garrard County? Well, Garrard County has a lot of farmers, and many of those farmers are in a real struggle to make ends meet. With tobacco on the decline(pdf), if marijuana were legalized, would Garrard County farmers opt to start growing?
Marijuana is already Kentucky’s biggest cash crop(pdf). The total value of all marijuana grown in Kentucky in 2006 was estimated at more than $4.3 billion. Only Tennessee ($4.77 billion) and California ($12.3 billion) had bigger crops.
Legalization could open those billions up to legitimate industry and bring in a lot of tax dollars, but odds are a minority of Kentuckians would actually be in support of decriminalizing the trade.
Would you guys be interested in seeing a story about this in the paper? I could ask farmers whether they think marijuana should be legalized, and what they would do if it was. And I could try to dig up some state officials who could give me an idea of how Kentucky politics might play out if marijuana legalization became a major issue.