Does D.C.’s new marijuana superstore signal growing acceptance of pot?

WeGrow, a Sacremento-based medical marijuana plant food and lighting store, is set to open a shop this Friday in Washington D.C., the domain of the federal government that has attempted to usurp the rights of states to pass medical marijuana laws.

D.C. recently passed a medical marijuana law, joining 16 states to have done so as well as 14 states that passed some form of marijuana decriminalization law. But does this signal a bright future for the legalization of marijuana instead of the usual authoritarian weed hysteria? WeGrow’s founder, Dhar Mann, seems to think so. The very visible pot entrepeneur imagines a “green rush.”

“The more that businesses start to push the envelope by showing that this is a legitimate industry, the further we’re going to be able to go in changing people’s minds,” Mann told the Associated Press.

Amongst both marijuana advocates and people of various other ideological stripes (such as some Libertarians, for instance), there has long been the belief that marijuana laws simply create more courtroom and incarceration costs, which are then levied on the taxpayer. Such advocates also argue that the black market pot industry (with estimated revenues of $1.7 billion in 2011) would bring much needed tax revenue to state and federal governments. Of course, the federal government could even partake of legal pot revenue, but drug hysteria, coming from cultural and religious conservatives, has historically prohibited this from becoming reality.

According to a September 2011 Gallup poll, a record-high 50% of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana. For comparison, in 1969—with America’s counter-cultural hysteria at its apogee—support was at 12%. That’s a significant jump, indicating that support for legalization will only continue to grow. In 2010, 70% of Americans supported medical marijuana, according to Gallup, adding further evidence to the reality of a more enlightened cultural perception of pot.

Since opening in Sacremento last year, WeGrow has also branched out to Arizona, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and plans on expanding into Oregon, Washington state and Michigan in the future.

Perhaps Mann’s method is the correct one: seed various cities and states, so to speak, in the hope that it propels marijuana legalization toward a critical mass. In other words, one toke at a time.