Back in decades of the past like in the 1960’s and 1970’s, marijuana use was seen as something that only criminals or hippies did. In these eras of civil and social unrest, those who were seen as rebels and resistors were often t he ones the general public associated with marijuana use. In fact, marijuana was criminalized then and throughout other decades, it was called a gateway drug, meaning that those who used marijuana, were more likely to escalate to other, more harmful substances and drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Many schools began putting students through D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) classes to help them understand the perils of drug use, particularly as teenagers, as teenagers were considered to be at a very impressionable age. Marijuana was largely criminalized in the United States throughout the years, even though other countries and cultures has embraced the use of marijuana in a medical capacity.
A poll done in the year 1969 showed that only about 1 in 10 Americans (the actual figure is 12%) believed in legalizing marijuana. When reviewing these statistics, it is likely that many would have chalked up those numbers to “hippies” and “rebels” who voted in the poll. While this may have been true based on the cultural beliefs of the time, the feelings toward marijuana in the United States are now very different.
In a recent poll regarding the legalization of marijuana, results show that 64% of Americans voted in favor and believe that marijuana should be legal in the United States. While some states have already passed their own laws on recreational and medical marijuana, it has not yet been legalized at the federal level.
So what’s the breakdown of how different political parties feel about the legalization of marijuana and the existence of marijuana dispensaries? It is commonly accepted that liberals generally possess a more favorable outlook on marijuana legalization while conservatives are more likely to oppose it.
Additional polling shows that while this is true, the gap is closing significantly. With 72% of Democrats polled supporting the legalization of marijuana and 67% of Independents polled supporting the legalization of marijuana, that is an average of 69.5% of politically liberal people polled supporting the issue. What is perhaps the surprising part of this poll, however, is that for the first time, a majority of Republicans polled voted in favor of legalization of marijuana. That’s right, 51% of polled Republicans think that legalizing marijuana in the United States is beneficial.
While the poll did not go into the specifics of why each person polled felt that way, it becomes increasingly interesting to see the way in which people’s opinions about marijuana use in the United States is shifting.
For many, this likely began with the increase in popularity of medical cannabis, which many people have attributed to helping them with symptoms of pain and illness, including the side effects of chemotherapy.
With marijuana becoming a much less nefarious aspect of culture in America, it makes sense that more and more people, regardless of political party or affiliation, would start seeing the benefit of decriminalizing it.