Marijuana legalization support at all-time high

Marijuana legalization support at all-time high

Marijuana legalization support at all-time high

mj-use-poll-updRecent polls have shown that not only do many American adults support the legalization of marijuana, but that their numbers are greater than ever before.

More than half - just over sixty percent - of all Americans are firmly pro-legalization. This is a fairly large jump from last year, and ranks as the highest percentage of pro-legalization Americans ever recorded. The numbers in favor of medical marijuana use are even higher, with around eighty-eight percent of all Americans in favor of medical usage.

The numbers are part of a larger trend that show that most Americans are changing their preconceived notions about marijuana in general. Most Americans (just over seventy percent), for example, want to make sure that states that have legalized marijuana usage won't be interfered with by the federal government. This isn't just on the left, either - Americans across the legal spectrum are in favor of keeping marijuana legal. Most Americans also think marijuana is a relatively safe drug, or at least safer than others - less than a quarter link it to an increase in violent crime. Among those who are concerned about addiction, a solid majority (sixty-nine percent) are in favor of treating drug addiction as an illness rather than treating it as a crime.


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 While the numbers are fairly positive on their own, it's even more amazing when one looks at how the numbers have changed. Between 2016 and 2017, support for legalization has jumped five percent - continuing a growth trend since 2013. While a majority of Americans have supported legalization since at least 2014, the numbers are even more impressive when one considers that only about a quarter of Americans supported legalization back in the 1970s.

So, who's in favor of legalization? Generally speaking, it's people under 65 - most of those who are against legalization are senior citizens. There's no real divide in gender, though, as women are now as supportive of legalization as men. Support for keeping the drug legal in states that have already legalized it cuts fairly evenly across party lines as well, as Democrats, Republicans, and Independent all seem fairly united on the issue.

So, what's changed? On one hand, it's certainly the people who are being polled. In today's polls, it's been found that a huge proportion of those under 35 either smoke or have tried marijuana at least once. This corresponds with the fairly high rate of pro-legalization votes for that age group. About half of all Americans claim to have tried marijuana in the past, which also tends to correspond with the overall acceptance rate of legalization. Those who are least likely to support legalization, those over sixty-five, are also those least likely to support the use of the drug. In fact, only about a quarter of those over sixty five have any experience with marijuana at all - and are the most likely to want to keep the status quo as is. The other major change in the poll is, of course, the wave of legalization that has crashed across the United States over the past several years. In fact, over half the states in the Union now allow for at least the medical usage of marijuana, with more states waiting in the wings. This has largely changed the perception of marijuana in general, which can be seen in the polls. Since legalization began, most Americans have begun seeing marijuana as less dangerous than alcohol or other drugs. Those who believe that there is a danger in addiction almost universally see it as an illness that should be given counseling and medical help rather than any kind of punishment.

mj-v-alcohol-pollThis attitude towards marijuana runs counter to that expressed by the new Attorney General, who has repeatedly referred to marijuana as dangerous and as a drug that leads to higher crime rates. Americans across the board tend to disagree, though Republicans tend to be the most divided. While there will likely still be debate on this for years to come, it does seem that Americans are growing more and more comfortable with the idea of legal marijuana as a whole. If trends continue, it would not be surprising to see this number hit the seventy-five percent mark within the next few years. It certainly wouldn't be surprising to see even more growth in these numbers as more states legalize pot.

These numbers are just numbers, though, and they have relatively little impact on federal policy. What they do tend to show, though, is that more Americans are going to be willing to go along with a state-by-state legalization. Once that occurs, it seems that more Americans than ever are happy to adopt this as a new status quo - something that wouldn't have been within the realm of reason even a decade or so ago.


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