A new PEW Research Study shows that the American perspective on legalizing marijuana is significant and holding, providing ample support to a widespread effort to legalize recreational use in the United States.
The study shows that around 62% of US residents support efforts to legalize marijuana use. This number is comparable to a study done in 2017, when 61% of those polled felt legalization was the way to go. This is a significant jump compared to as little as 18 years ago in 2000, when only 31% of residents thought we should legalize marijuana.
A breakdown of the supporters shows some interesting trends: more men than women tend to support the idea, while Democrats and independents drastically outnumber Republicans in the popular opinion. Regarding educational levels, those with some college (67%) are most supportive of measures to legalize, followed by those with college (64%) and postgraduate degrees (63%). Individuals with a high school diploma or less education are the lowest denomination (at 51%).
Religious affiliations reflect in a manner most would expect, with those who are unaffiliated most supportive at 79%, while white Evangelical Protestants are the most vocal against the legalization movement, with only 43% approving the measure.
When it comes to concerns, there are certain recurring themes, despite the evidence that these issues are non-starters in today’s society.
One such concern is the likelihood of greater teen usage because it will be easier to obtain. However, a look at a current study, released in September 2018, shows that teen use of marijuana is actually down. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health published a study, completed in 2017, that shows that teen marijuana use is at 6.5%, compared to 6.7% of older Americans. The study collected research from over 100,000 United States residents.
Another concern that is revisited often is the increase of activity in the black market as a result of marijuana legalization. However, again considering Colorado as the model, researchers say that black market sales decreased since the legalization of marijuana in the state. This shows the intended efforts of legalization are coming to pass, albeit slowly.