The weed wire7 in 10 Americans say smoking weed is morally acceptable

Shift in public opinion supports push for federal legalization, says NORML director
Michelle Gamage Michelle GamageJune 26, 20207 min

A majority of American adults say smoking cannabis is as morally acceptable as straight people having unmarried sex, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Gallup’s annual values and beliefs poll tracks national moral acceptability and found 70 per cent of Americans say smoking cannabis is OK by them, while 28 per cent said it was morally wrong. This ranks just above the national acceptance of gay sex (66 per cent approval rating) but slightly lower than hetero sex outside of marriage (72 per cent approval).

The high positive public opinion means it’s time to push for American federal cannabis legalization, NORML political director Justin Strekal said in a Friday statement.

“Politicians in Washington should take this opportunity ahead of the 2020 elections to move forward legislation, like The MORE Act, to both amend this failed policy and address the inequities and injustices it has brought for generations, particularly against communities of colour,” he said.

The Gallup poll found liberals were more accepting of cannabis use than conservatives, with a respective 83 to 51 per cent approval rating — but the majority of approval across the political spectrum is a positive thing, Strekal said.

“As we approach Independence Day [July 4], it is reassuring to see that majorities of both sides of the ideological spectrum agree that adults should be free from the shackles of marijuana prohibition,” he said.

The survey ran from May 1–13 and randomly called 1,028 adults aged 18 and older living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points with a 95 per cent confidence level.

Gallup has been tracking moral acceptance of many controversial issues since 2001, like human cloning (rising to 12 per cent from 7 over 10 years) and medical testing on animals (falling to 51 per cent approval from 65 per cent over 10 years).

But the survey company only started tracking how Americans felt about drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis since 2018. Cracking a cold one holds one of the highest approval ratings for the recent survey, beat out only by birth control.

Recent international events have been adding to the calls for the U.S.A. to federally legalize cannabis.

As the U.S. navigates the global economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, regulating cannabis could become a more and more attractive option for tax revenue, Chris Lindsey, director of government relations with the Marijuana Policy Project, told Mugglehead in April.

Read more: Pandemic will boost US cannabis legalization, but not until 2021, expert says

Politicians will be following recreational cannabis sales closely he said, like how in Illinois where legal sales brought in US$110 million over the first three months of 2020.

The disproportionate impact the war on drugs has had on Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in the U.S. has also been recently highlighted. Protests against police brutality sparked by the police killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have brought institutional racism under the microscope, with even the U.S. House recognizing how national drug policy has contributed to “the systemic targeting of and use of deadly and brutal force against people of colour, particularly black people.”

Read more: US House resolution points to war on drugs as contributing to police brutality 

Top image of Americans smoking cannabis in San Antonio, Texas in May 1973. Photo by Marc St. Gil via Wikimedia Commons

 

michelle@mugglehead.com

@missmishelle

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