According to a poll conducted by CBS News, 65 percent of Americans support the legal recreational use of marijuana. The majority of participants stated that they viewed marijuana as being less dangerous than other drugs, or even alcohol.
CBS News reported that these results showed that the American opinion of cannabis is at an all-time high. Even the tide of politics is changing. More than half of Republicans supported the legalization of cannabis, the first time a majority of self-identified Republicans have supported it, CBS News stated.
Who participated in the poll?
As with any survey, a truly informed reader must inspect the circumstances of a survey: who participated? How was the poll conducted? What was the margin of error? Were there any incentives offered for participation?
CBS News reported that the poll was conducted via telephone April 9-14, with 1,010 random adults participating nationwide, with a random digital-dial methodology being utilized. Both cellphones and landlines were called. The data was collected by SSRS of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.
While the survey does have a 4 percent margin of error (plus or minus), the survey was at least provided in both English and Spanish to ensure a variety of pollers.
What were the results?
Unsurprisingly, younger voters polled in at higher rates in favor of legalizing the recreational use of cannabis; however, nearly half (49 percent) of the participants over the age of 65 were in favor of legalizing cannabis.
The survey showed that two-thirds of Americans believe marijuana is less dangerous than other drugs, and 51 percent of participants agreed that alcohol is more harmful to a person’s health than cannabis. A third of participants believed it was just as dangerous.
A surprising 52 percent of participants felt that marijuana is good for local economies and felt that legalizing cannabis would have an effect on violent crime levels.
When it comes to marijuana and politics, the majority of the survey participants (62 percent), felt that the federal government should stop taking action against the sale of cannabis in states where it is currently legal.
Additionally, 56 percent of Americans stated that a presidential candidate’s opinion of marijuana, specifically, if they were in favor of legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, would not affect their vote one way or another. This view extended across party lines.
Unsurprisingly, 34 percent of Republicans answered that they would be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate that supported legalized sales of marijuana, but a surprising 54 percent said that it would not impact their vote.
The poll looked into usage rates as well. The survey found that more Americans are admitting to inhaling than they have in the past.
Fifty-five percent of participants said that they had tried marijuana, with more men reporting usage at 61 percent, and women having answered positively at 50 percent. The two groups that claim not to have tried marijuana: conservatives and older Americans.
So what does this survey tell us? The numbers are beginning to tilt in favor of marijuana. While they may have been small gains, a majority of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana sales, believing that it will help their local economy. Let’s hope that this survey is reflective of future voting trends.