I just read a great article on Salon.com about progressive political changes in Colorado. I won't reiterate the article here; you can check the link and read it. I am focusing on one aspect of the change in Colorado - Proposition 64 - legalizing marijuana. The essential question on this issue boils down to this great "Colorado" question: "Why should a state known for a toxic substance (alcohol) not allow its citizens to consume a less toxic substance (pot)?"
In a recent response to legalization of marijuana in two states, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control holds that science proves that marijuana is not safe, is too potent today, and that smoking it is not a prudent option for anyone. Director Gil Kerlikowske's statement (read it here: legalization) rather implies that there may be room for cannabis edibles and/or big pharma derivatives from cannabis (removing the high in the process).
As with cannabis, there is some proof that consuming alcohol has health benefits. I submit that removing the high from alcohol would be political suicide, but in order to make the argument that cannabis cannot be used, the government MUST take that step.
Unlike tobacco, whose only benefit is to kill many people before they can collect Social Security, smoking and eating cannabis has a long lasting, pleasant high, however, for the government to be consistent it must immediately criminalize smoking tobacco and remove the nicotine from ingestible tobacco products.
There is overwhelming evidence that gun violence in America will not be effectively curbed because of a lack of political will (in other words, fear of losing elections, science be damned), so politicians should change federal policies in light of THE FACT that they will lose elections if they refuse to allow Colorado and other states to apply common sense to the cannabis issues. Count on it.
Now, notice my use of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms in my analogy with cannabis. Four things with varying degrees of danger to the American people. Three of them are legal, yet controlled. It would be prudent to add cannabis to the list. Politically prudent. If government wants to use statistics and scientific knowledge to ban marijuana then it must ban alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. To do any less is a hypocritical lie. To leave ANY legality to alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, but to ban cannabis use (by democratic STATE approval) is to be so hypocritical that any political party that does it will lose elections in consequence. And any political party that does decriminalize pot at the federal level will reap untold votes even if their other policies are not good.