2014] UNDER THE GUISE OF REFORM 921
Americans’ views towards the legality of marijuana are changing, and
this shift has unintended consequences for an individual’s right to a jury
trial.1 In 2012, a Rasmussen poll found that 56% of Americans support
legalizing marijuana.2 Within the past forty years, Americans have drastically
shifted their perspective from one of adamant disapproval to ever-increasing
approval.3 Even with this overall growing trend, there are differences in
approval ratings depending on region and political party affiliation.4 As
elected officials and legislatures grapple with this tension, some states have
passed or are trying to pass legislation decreasing the penalty for marijuana
possession.5 At the federal level, legislators with increasing awareness of the
disparity in state decriminalization measures have sought to defer to the
states to control penalizing marijuana possession.6 Although the Ending
Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act did not leave the House of
1. See Elizabeth Mendes, New High of 46% of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana ,
GALLUPPOLITICS (Oct. 28, 2010, 4:00 PM), http://www.gallup.com/poll/144086/new-high-
americans-support-legalizing-marijuana.aspx (describing a Gallup poll that shows an upward
trend in legalizing marijuana since 2000); Majority Now Supports Legalizing Marijuana, CTR. FOR
PEOPLE AND THE PRESS, PEWRESEARCH (April 4, 2013), available at http://www.people-
press.org/2013/04/04/majority-now-supports-legalizing-marijuana/ (finding that a majority of
Americans favor legalizing marijuana).
2. Lucia Graves, 56 Percent of Americans Favor Legal Marijuana in New Poll, HUFFINGTON
POST (May 22, 2012, 7:31 PM), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/22/legalize-
marijuana-56-percent-rasmussen-poll_n_1537706.html (citing 56% Favor Legalizing, Regulating
Marijuana, RASMUSSEN REPORTS (May 17, 2012), http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_
3. See RASMUSSEN REPORTS, supra note 2 (“Approximately 8 in 10 Americans were opposed
to legalizing [marijuana] . . . in the late 1960s and early 1970s”). This article also mentioned
that, although medical marijuana is experiencing a downward trend in approval ratings, it is
still relatively high at 70%. Id.
4. Id. (describing how approval is higher in the West and among liberals than in the
South, the Midwest, and among conservatives).
5. For example, Massachusetts passed a law in 2009 that made marijuana possession of
one ounce or less a civil offense punishable by a fine and fo rfeiture of the marijuana. MASS.
GEN. LAWS ch. 94C, § 32L (2009), available at https://malegislature.gov/Laws/General
Laws/PartI/TitleXV/Chapter94C/Section32L; Ky. H. Journal, 2011 Reg. Sess., KY. REV. STAT.
ANN. § 218A.1422 (West Supp. 2013) (detailing the legislative history of KY. REV. STAT. ANN. §
218A.1422 that amended possession of marijuana from a Class A to a Class B misdemeanor); see
also Decrim Passes House by One Vote, Fails in Senate, MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT,
http://www.mpp.org/states/new-hampshire/ (last updated Nov. 7, 2013) (describing how a
New Hampshire bill decreasing the penalty for half an ounce of marijuana to a violation passed
the House by a narrow margin, and failed in the Senate).
6. Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, H.R. 2306, 112th Cong. (1st S ess.
2011); see Daniel B. Wood, ‘Dramatic Change’ to Marijuana Laws? What Bill Before Congress Would
Do, CHRISTIAN SCI. MONITOR (June 24, 2011), available at http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/
(discussing how the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act would take marijuana off the
schedule of controlled substances, and leave it to state legislatures to decide the legality of