Sure, public opinion is still against serious efforts to legalize or decriminalize recreational marijuana. But public opinion on the issue is partially shaped by the fact that few prominent politicians have made the case for legal pot. No presidential nominee for either major party has entertained the idea, and the efforts by liberals and libertarians on behalf of legalization has been dismissed as politically dangerous by the leadership of both parties.
Almost as significant is the lack of intensity against marijuana, even among those who maintain reservations about its legalization. Like gay marriage, decriminalization is not likely a wedge issue that will largely benefit the status quo. Those who are most inspired by the issue are the supporters of expanded civil liberties. So it's not surprising that California Democrats are starting to visualize the benefit of the debate:
Seizing on new independent polling data, proponents of Proposition 19 - the Golden State ballot measure that would make possessing and growing marijuana legal - argue the measure is going to drive younger-voter turnout in such a way that it will benefit the Democrats statewide, from gubernatorial retread Jerry Brown to Sen. Barbara Boxer.
This is the fight Ben Masel hopes to bring to Wisconsin. Sconnie voters, at large, probably would not receive legalization as well as California voters, who have been witness to de facto legalization for years now. However, I would bet that an MJ ballot initiative would boost youth turnout significantly, and if it were put in medical terms, the opposition would be rather weak.