Majority of Americans Now Support Marijuana Legalization: What Does it Mean?

A new poll from Pew Research shows the level of support in the U.S. for recreational marijuana legalization is at 52%, an all-time high. Numbers are up in all demographics, and the momentum behind legalization has never been greater.

Digging deeper into the numbers we find that 50% of Baby Boomers think marijuana should be legalized while 77% of respondents said marijuana has legitimate medical uses. The bottom line is that perceptions about cannabis are changing, and they are doing so quickly.

“Just tax it and that way everybody can enjoy it,” said Celine Cheano of San Diego. “Whoever wants to enjoy it can enjoy it and the government can benefit from it. We can benefit from it in so many ways.”

legalize marijuana buttonLegalization opponents don’t want to hear it, but it is inescapable: there are many benefits that come with legalization, including saved law enforcement resources, increased economic activity, increased tax revenue and people who use marijuana and don’t hurt anyone will no longer be treated like criminals and shunned by large segments of society.

“Familiarity I think is one issue,” said Gordon Clanton, Professor of Sociology at San Diego State University, on why the numbers are shifting. “But the other is just basically demographics. There are more young people than ever before and there are more people who’ve come of age since marijuana was a source of a great deal of argument in the 60’s and 70’s.”

In other words, more and more people are seeing the truth about marijuana for themselves and see that the propaganda of their childhood was just that; a lie designed to keep them in the dark.

The real question now is: what will the politicians do? Most elected officials are clearly lagging behind the polls when it comes to realizing the force behind legalization and it will likely be several years before real progress is made on the federal level.

But there is hope, as minds are changing on the federal level as well. It’s just a matter of time and some real money behind lobbying before legalization is realized federally. After that states will decide on the issue on their own in short order, with the majority siding with legalization.

But all of this relies on the activists out there doing their part; the movement has relied on this since the beginning and will until the end. The grass roots and the millions of cannabis users out their spreading the word and changing minds have brought us to where we are today.

It is that which will take us into a future of more freedom.

– Joe Klare

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