Federal laws against pot are on borrowed time

Aiding in this movement is that law enforcement is now on board: Cops mostly see prohibition of marijuana as an impediment to dealing with more serious crime issues. A national survey of police officers found that 73 percent think that marijuana should not be categorized as a Schedule 1 drug (like heroin and LSD), and 61 percent thought that incarcerating marijuana users was not an effective way to reduce the use of the drug.

There are three bills in the works before Congress, and it will likely be a combination of these that get a vote. The final bills will likely end marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 drug and also make it available to patients in VA hospitals.

States will have the right to determine how far they want the legalization to go, with marijuana regulated like alcohol; individual cities and counties will likely get a say as well. There will also likely be a federal tax on sales that will be used for health care programs, help for those who may have been unfairly treated by the war on drugs in past decades, and employment programs for those who need them.

Can such a bill get to 60 votes in the Senate in order to surmount filibuster concerns? Ron Wyden, the Democratic senator from Oregon, warned that the GOP remains out of touch on this issue at their peril.