The "Legalize It" Movement Turns 40 | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

The "Legalize It" Movement Turns 40

Public opinion has changed since the pot legalization movement first sparked up in 1972.


The movement in its younger, van-centric
days. Photo via

By McCarton Ackerman


| Share

Reese Witherspoon and William Shatner weren't the only ones who blew out birthday candles last night: March 22, 2012, also marked the 40-year anniversary of the campaign to legalize pot in the US. On the same day in 1972, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse recommended that Congress no longer make the use and possession of pot a criminal offense, claiming that criminal law was too harsh a method to apply in discouraging citizens from toking up. The commission also said that marijuana did not meet the criteria of a Schedule I controlled substance, which is defined as a prohibitive substance without any therapeutic value. "The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only with the greatest reluctance," noted the commission.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then-President Richard Nixon dismissed the report and continued his "all-out war" on drugs, with 21.5 million Americans having been arrested under marijuana laws since that time. But 40 years later, public opinion on legalization has shifted radically: More than half of Americans say that pot should be legalized and regulated for adults, while 80% say it should be available as a therapy when recommended by a physician.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
An Audience with Gabor Maté

According to the rock star of addiction theory, every addict had a traumatic childhood whether they realize it or not.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv