Alan Berner / Seattle Times

The Rise of Mary Jane: Why the US Is Embracing Marijuana in the 21st Century

According to a national poll taken by CBS News and the New York Times performed in 1979, only 27 percent of the American population was in favor of legalizing marijuana. Fast forward 34 years later and more than 58 percent of Americans are in favor of the legalization of the drug for adult use and to date, more than 20 states, as well as the nation’s capital, have legalized the drug for medicinal use.

So, why the drastic shift in public – and political – opinion? In a USA Today editorial, the change in tide reflects a changing culture and attitude. As of January 1 2014, both Colorado and Washington will legalize the drug for recreational use – and that’s just the beginning.

In the early 90s, the editorial notes, the drug and its ties to medicine became more pronounced. According to Google Ngram Viewer, the phrase “medical marijuana” became more sought after than marijuana “legalization” and “decriminalization” in 2000; proof that the generational drug’s rehabilitation is growing in popularity at a high rate.

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