While clear majority supports marijuana legalization, many remain largely uninformed
We have yet another poll out showing the majority of Americans favor marijuana legalization, however the poll reveals some shocking attitudes towards cannabis.
The new CNN/ORC International survey which was released today found 55% of respondents agreeing that marijuana should be legalized while 44% disagreed. This is nearly identical to previous polls released late last year.
Beginning in 1987 support for legalization was at 16% and jumped to 26% in 1996. By 2002 it had climbed to 34% and just two years ago support was at 43%.
About two-thirds of those age 18-49 support legalization, and half of those who are 50 to 64 agree with legalization.
Women just barely support legalization by a slim majority at 51% while men support it at a much larger rate of 59%.
While obviously momentum is definitely in favor of legalization and no doubt we are on the verge of legalizing marijuana everywhere, it is sure to face many hurdles due to the large amount of people who are simply uninformed on the subject.
While 62% of people in 1972 viewed cannabis as a major problem, nearly one in five people still believe it is a major problem. This is a huge drop, but it’s still problematic that a fifth of our population believes that a non-toxic plant is a problem, let alone a major problem.
Almost half of people, 47%, still believe that marijuana is a gateway drug, and exactly half believe that it is addictive. Sadly, 43% still believe that cannabis is physically harmful.
While cannabis is primarily mentally addictive with very minor physical addictions, people typically see marijuana as extremely addictive when in fact alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine are all more addictive. Addiction rates are often falsely reported as well, with those forced into rehab rather than jail being counted as addicted to marijuana, even though they are not.
This means that education campaigns need to be stepped up. Regardless of how someone feels about the consumption of marijuana, the science is very clear on the matter.
Something that can likely only be combated by those who are deeply religious is the percentage of those who believe it is morally wrong to consume marijuana, 35%.
Southern conservatives will be the toughest group to change minds in, but even the conservative political outlet National Review is on board with legalization.
A major key to ending alcohol prohibition was support from women. Advocacy groups need to focus more on mothers and women in general if they wish to see faster results. Of course it’s hard for mothers to be openly supportive because they fear their children being taken away by CPS.
The legalization movement still has a lot of work ahead of them. Getting marijuana legal is just part of the overall fight, as changing perceptions and educating people long after the initial battle is won will be key to ensuring that people understand the uses of cannabis and the plant is not over-regulated, which will cause problems of its own.
In the meantime, check out this video below which demonstrates the absurdity of marijuana prohibition.
By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com