Bong it or not, US peoples are seemingly taking a more-advanced view of marijuana — pot, grass, wacky-tobacky, ‘bud,’ smoke, and to the straights/intellects: cannabis.
A most-interesting survey out last week from Pew Research, a new high in a 40-year history:
A national survey finds that 52 percent say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45 percent say it should not.
Support for legalizing marijuana has risen 11 points since 2010.
The change is even more dramatic since the late 1960s.
A 1969 Gallup survey found that just 12 percent favored legalizing marijuana use, while 84 percent were opposed.
A big chunk of Americans are finally chillin’ out.
(Illustration found here).
Another most-interesting observation from the poll was in the old-people spread — this the group in 1969 supposedly on the cutting edge of cool, my own age bracket:
Yet there also has been a striking change in long-term attitudes among older generations, particularly Baby Boomers.
Half (50 percent) of Boomers now favor legalizing marijuana, among the highest percentages ever.
In 1978, 47 percent of Boomers favored legalizing marijuana, but support plummeted during the 1980s, reaching a low of 17 percent in 1990.
Since 1994, however, the percentage of Boomers favoring marijuana legalization has doubled, from 24 percent to 50 percent.
Just 50 percent? After a generational-time loop and all kinds of shit, I would have figured the vast, vast bulk of us boomers would have way-already thumbed-up the legalization of an entity so integrated, and such a vital, way-part of our history. There’ still a lot of assholes my age, I guess.
And also via age: The survey finds that an increasing percentage of Americans say they have tried marijuana. Overall, 48 percent say they have ever tried marijuana, up from 38 percent a decade ago. Roughly half in all age groups, except for those 65 and older, say they have tried marijuana.
Old people sometimes can not be all-so cute.
And this is also a most-welcome change:
As support for marijuana legalization has grown, there has been a decline in the percentage viewing it as a â€œgateway drug.â€
Currently, just 38 percent agree that â€œfor most people the use of marijuana leads to the use of hard drugs.â€
In 1977, 60 percent said its use led to the use of hard drugs.
Amid changing attitudes about marijuana, a sizable percentage of Americans (72 percent) say that government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth.
And 60 percent say that the federal government should not enforce federal laws prohibiting the use of marijuana in states where it is legal.
Last fall, voters in two states â€“ Colorado and Washington state â€“ approved the personal use of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.
Although all this polling data looks good to us,Â the UK’s Guardian took a more-cautious approach:
So does that mean that weed is on its way to becoming legal in more places than it is now?
Perhaps, but the public’s opinion of marijuana is a lot more murky than the Pew surveys indicate.
Eighty percent of the differences in support for marijuana legalization nationwide since 1975 is explained by the change in the overall crime rate through 2010 (the last year in which we have the crime rate and GSS data).
Crime rates are currently at very low levels nationwide, which could explain why we saw the demonstrated upswing of marijuana legalization in all polling during the first decade of this century.
If we were to see an increase in the crime rate in the future, there’s a pretty decent chance we’d see a decrease in support for marijuana.
You can actually see the percentage of Americans in favor of marijuana legalization actually dropped during the 1980s from the 1970s as drug acceptance seems to have been linked linked to a higher overall crime rate.
Near 50 percent of baby boomers were in favor of legalization in the mid-to-late 1970s, yet that fell off to only about 20 percent by about 1990.
That then rebounded to the 50 percent Pew saw in their latest poll.
The most likely reason was because of the crime rate.
Given that the crime rate is likely to rise at some point in the future, it’s quite possible that the 65 percent of millennials in favor of weed legalization right now could drop off significantly as well.
For now, however, I would take the Pew poll and implications of it with a grain of salt.
There’s a reason why you don’t see politicians coming out all over the place in favor of it like you do with same-sex marriage, despite the fact it actually polls higher per Pew Research.
The great uptick in marijuana support over the past three years probably isn’t where Pew says it is and a rise in support is in no way guaranteed in the future.
A goodly chunk of growers up here in this neck of northern California oppose legalization — it would pretty-much disappear the industry. However, marijuana should have always been legal — it’s pretty-stupid it’s not already, but in the wake of the move of the US toward a ‘more liberal‘ view of not only pot, but with the gays, too, there might be an open door to the issue.
Even amongst the political partisans — via the Pew poll:
Only about three-in-ten conservative Republicans (29 percent) say marijuana use should be legal.
Moderate and liberal Republicans are far more likely than conservatives to favor legalization (53 percent).
Like Republicans, Democrats are ideologically divided over legalizing marijuana.
While 73 percent of liberal Democrats favor legalizing use of marijuana, only about half of conservative and moderate Democrats agree (52 percent).