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The debate over whether Jerry Cox is hateful or merely misinformed has resumed with the campaign to put another medical marijuana proposal on the ballot. The leader of a Religious Right group called the Family Council, Cox was the noisiest of the opponents to a medical marijuana act in 2012. That one was defeated, in a vote much closer than anyone could have envisioned a few years ago, and proponents say they'll try again in November.

Cox is on record as saying that support for medical marijuana in the state has waned since 2012 because voters know more about the issue. "I think there's a growing number of people beginning to understand it and see it the way it is," Cox said. If Cox's analysis is correct, then the rest of the country must be getting dumber. Across the nation, the tide is running strongly in favor of medical marijuana. A medical marijuana proposal on a state ballot these days is almost sure to be approved, unless voters instead choose to legalize marijuana for all purposes, as a couple of states have done. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have approved marijuana for medical purposes alone. Colorado and Washington are the two that have approved marijuana even for recreational purposes. Remember the misnamed "drug war" of a few years ago, and those flamboyant drug warriors like Asa Hutchinson? This is precisely what they meant to prevent. (We predict that Hutchinson, now a Republican candidate for governor, will reveal that he's grown fonder of marijuana. Cox isn't running for office; Hutchinson is.)

Many thousands of grievously ailing Americans have testified they got relief from marijuana when nothing else provided it. That should count for something with their fellows, even if the Tea Party demands that we all hate each other.

It's true that misused marijuana can cause problems, but marijuana isn't nearly so harmful as alcohol, and the U.S. found painfully almost 100 years ago that prohibition of alcohol brought on the worst crime wave in our nation's history. Today, the problem of grossly crowded prisons cannot be solved without reform of the drug laws.

Prejudice is the main source of the arguments against medical marijuana. This is a new century. We can't afford this sort of prejudice anymore.


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