"If marijuana ever became completely legal, then it is likely that more people would use … [and] it is also likely that some ill effects would occur from that use," writes Lance Dodes in Psychology Today. But "it is unlikely to catalyze a major shift away from current addictive use of alcohol or other compulsive behaviors, and it is unlikely that the total number of people with addictions will rise significantly."
In the eyes of many Americans, particularly in younger generations, the drug is now seen as being in the same class as beer. Some 69 percent of voters under age 29 support legalization, according to Quinnipiac.
"With the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes legal in about 20 states, and Washington and Colorado voting this November to legalize the drug for recreational use, American voters seem to have a more favorable opinion about this once-dreaded drug," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, told CBS News. "There are large differences on this question among the American people."
Though boosted by successes in Colorado and Washington, pro-marijuana advocates say their toughest challenge is convincing Congress and President Obama to declassify pot as a Schedule 1 drug – or at least to ensure that Congress doesn't interfere with state experimentation on marijuana taxation. After all, Mr. Obama allowed his Justice Department to begin a crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries despite a campaign promise to not do so.