A CBS News poll released just before the 4/20 holiday has marijuana acceptance nationwide at its highest level ever recorded.
According to the poll, 53% of Americans believe marijuana should be recreationally legal, nationwide. This is a 2% jump in cannabis support from the previous poll conducted in 2014, but is not the highest acceptance seen. 53% is the highest seen in a poll that takes other national polls’ data into account, however.
It’s a great statistic for the bulletin board, but what does the number really mean?
Not Just Hippie Hemp, Anymore
No longer can the cries of legalization be attributed to a minority group of Americans (read: hippies). Instead, the majority of Americans support legalization, and at 53%, it’s a large majority. Remember, President Obama won re-election in 2012 with the exact same majority, 53%.
On a national scale, the 2% increase in support from the 2014 poll, and the 12% increase in support since 2009 represent astronomically large numbers of individuals.
Since the ‘reefer madness’ days of American drug policy back in the 1970’s, marijuana legalization support has nearly doubled. That’s nearly 87 million Americans who changed their minds about the Schedule 1 drug.
While the major support demographics are predictable: left-leaning males; it takes more than the obvious demographic to make a majority.
Alcohol Sentiments Changing
Speaking of majorities, 51% of Americans find alcohol to be a far more harmful drug than marijuana. Only 12% find the inverse to be true. Additionally, in a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from 2014, participants were asked to rank tobacco, alcohol, sugar, and marijuana from most to least harmful. 8% stated marijuana as the most harmful choice.
Conversely, sugar came in at 15% believe it was the most harmful, with 24% believing alcohol to be most harmful, and 49% believing tobacco to be most harmful.
The choices that polled to be most harmful by nearly 88% of Americans are legal. The choice only 8% identified as most harmful, by-in-large, is not. Or to put it another way, Americans find sugar more harmful than marijuana.
Maybe sugar should be a Schedule 1 drug…