After a summer filled with anxious debates over health care and torture, the suggestion that weed may finally be a socially acceptable form of recreation has commentators of all stripes fired up. Instead of eviscerating one another for their stance on the public option, columnists are trading views on the likeliness of decriminalization in the U.S. From popular culture to politicians who openly admit to having used the drug to the new marijuana laws in Mexico and Argentina, columnists say there are signs everywhere that the golden era of weed is imminent.

  • Cannabis Culture Is Coming Out of the Closet, writes Adam Tschorn at The Los Angeles Times. "At fashion-insider parties, joints are passed nearly as freely as hors d'oeuvres. Traces of the acrid smoke waft from restaurant patios, car windows and passing pedestrians on the city streets -- in broad daylight." He says weed has become mainstream in television shows and politics too. "Smoking pot used to be the kind of personal conduct that could sink a U.S. Supreme Court nomination (Douglas H. Ginsburg in 1987) and embarrass a presidential candidate (Bill Clinton in 1992)," Tschorn said. "Today, it seems to be a non-issue for the current inhabitant of the Oval Office." But at Reason Magazine, Jack Welsh says there's no need to resort to anecdotes when there's hard evidence weed is here to stay. "The Times ignores the practical evidence in front of them-the hundreds of medical marijuana clinic operating in Los Angeles alone, after California became among the trailblazers to legalize therapeutic pot-and instead looks at the commander in chief."
  • Pot Is the New Prozac, says Jonah Lehrer, a guest blogger at The Daily Dish. He thinks pot can be especially useful to treat anxiety. "Neuroscientists now believe that a faulty endocannabinoid system might play a part in all sorts of anxiety syndromes, from post-traumatic stress disorder to irrational phobias," he said. "My hunch is that the normalization of marijuana is here to stay."
  • Mexico and Argentina Decriminalized Marijuana, writes Juan Carlos Hidalgo at the Cato Institute. Hidalgo said drug consumption in such small quantities is a matter of privacy. "According to some reports, Brazil and Ecuador are considering similar steps. They would be wise to follow suit."
  • ...And the Obama Administration Seems Pretty Ambivalent About It, says Ioan Grillo of Time Magazine. Grillo says "Washington's silence on the issue is telling," because it signifies a shift from the "War on Drugs" to an emphasis on treatment.