Lawmakers from this area do not support legalizing marijuana in Missouri but are open to discussing relaxing certain pot laws.

In an informative piece by Missourian Reporter Josh Mitchell in this edition, local legislators Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, and Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, shared their views on marijuana laws.

All three lawmakers are staunch conservative Republicans who sit on legislative committees that could shape future state policy changes regarding pot.

While steadfast in opposing full legalization, the fact that they are willing to listen to relaxing certain pot laws illustrates the evolving attitudes toward leniency in marijuana policy.

The national trends regarding more tolerance and acceptance of marijuana use are clear.

According to two national polls taken this year, for the first time, a majority of the American public favors legalizing pot. If the same poll was taken in Missouri or Franklin County, the percentage of people favoring outright legalization may not be that high. We tend to be more conservative than the rest of the country in politics and cultural norms.

While pot use is still technically illegal under federal law, two states – Colorado and Washington — have legalized it for recreational purposes. Another 20 states, including California, and the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana for medical use.

The Justice Department said recently the federal government would not challenge state laws permitting marijuana.

On Tuesday, voters in Colorado will decide whether to approve a 15 percent pot excise tax to pay for school construction, plus an extra sales tax of 10 percent to fund marijuana enforcement. The issue in Colorado isn’t whether to legalize pot, it’s how to tax it.

Marijuana’s tax potential is an important question for the prospects for pot legalization in other states. If pot proves a tax windfall for Colorado and Washington, other states may be inclined to look favorably on legal weed, according to The Associated Press.

The positions of our legislators likely represent many of their constituents: We are not ready to legalize it, but we will listen to ideas on smarter, more practical approaches to marijuana policy.