Marijuana legalization has been a major debated topic in America since the 1960s. The older generations are not as supportive of marijuana legalization as the younger ones. Different generations are heavily impacted by their perception of the substance, which directly affects their judgment and usage of the drug. Different generations have differing views on the morality and consequences of taking the drug. According to surveys, the responses supplied by millennials and Generation Z through the internet and phone may impact their desire to speak the truth owing to anonymity. Additionally, anonymity creates a lack of concern about society’s impression of their decisions. Overall, all generations have experienced a surge in advocating for the legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use.
Pew Research Centre polls on legalization of marijuana
With an increasing number of states legalizing medical marijuana, almost seventy-five Americans support their states in permitting the purchase and use of cannabis for medicinal reasons if authorized by a physician (Green). While 23 percent oppose it, advocacy for legalizing medicinal marijuana is widespread across significant political and socio-economic groups. It is as strong in states that have not approved legislation on the matter.
The public is concerned about the legalization of medicinal marijuana. According to a poll conducted by Pew Research in 2011, 45 percent of the interviewees said they would be apprehensive if a medical marijuana shop opened close to other businesses in their neighborhood (Green). Similarly, 46 percent believed that legalizing medicinal cannabis makes it far easier for individuals to get the drug even if they do not have a legitimate medical need. These worries are most significant among opponents of medical marijuana legalization. However, the cases of drug use are not greater nor lesser than in places where marijuana is currently authorized for medicinal reasons.
Gallup polls on the surge in preference for the legalization of marijuana
The usage of marijuana for medicinal reasons is supported by more Americans than the generalized legalization of the drug. However, the number of those who believe generalized marijuana usage ought to be legalized has risen steadily over the last two decades. According to the nationwide study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, published in March 2011 among 1,500 participants on landlines and mobile phones, 41 percent of the population believes marijuana usage should be legalized, while 52 percent do not Denham). However, as per statistics from the General Social Survey, in 2008, 35 percent thought it should be allowed, while 57 percent opposed its legalization.
Since 2010, support for marijuana legalization has increased by 11 points. Since the mid-1960s, the shift has been considerably more significant. According to a 1969 Gallup poll, just 12 percent of the people supported legalizing the usage of marijuana, while 84 percent opposed it. The Pew Research Center polled 1,501 adults between March 13 and 17 and found that young adults support marijuana legalization. Millennials – those born between 1980 and currently aged between 20 to 36 years – support marijuana legalization, up from 36 percent in 2008. However, there is now a discernible change in protracted opinions among previous generations, most notably Baby Boomers.
Fifty percent of Baby Boomers currently support marijuana legalization, the most significant percentage rise in history. In 1978, 47 percent of the boomers supported legalization; however, support dwindled during the early 1990s, attaining a minimum of 18 percent in 1990 (Denham). However, since 1995, the number of Boomers who support cannabis legalization has increased from 25 to 51 percent. Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, came of age during the 1990s when legalizing marijuana faced widespread opposition. Backing for legalizing marijuana has also increased considerably among Generation X, rising from 28 percent in 1994, reaching 42 percent in ten years, and standing at 54 percent currently.
Health and medical journals regarding attitudes toward the legalization of Marijuana in the United States
The Silent Generation remains the least favorable generation over legalizing marijuana compared to younger generations. However, the share of Silents who support legalization has almost quadrupled since 2002, rising from 17 percent to 32 percent (Denham). According to the report, a rising number of Americans have tried cannabis. Among all the responders, 48 percent had used marijuana, rising from 38 percent a decade earlier. Besides those aged 65 years and older, over half of all age groups indicated they had used marijuana.
One-tenth (12pecent) of those polled said they had smoked marijuana in the last year. Regarding current marijuana usage, age inequalities are substantially more pronounced: Twenty-seven percent of those under the age of 30 reported having used cannabis in the previous year, which is more than triple the rate of any other age group (Brenan). Nearly half of those who had used cannabis in the recent year claimed to have done so “for pleasure.” Thirty percent claimed to have done so for therapeutic purposes, and 23 percent claimed to have done so for medical and recreational purposes.
As support for legalizing marijuana has increased, so has the number of people who perceive it as a “party drug.” Currently, just 38 percent believe that cannabis usage promotes the abuse of hard drugs such as cocaine. In 1977, 60 percent of those polled claimed it led to increased hard drug usage (Brenan). Recently, there has risen a significant movement in public opinion over the morality of the use of marijuana. Currently, 32 percent believe that consuming marijuana is ethically immoral, a drop of 18 points from 2006 (50 percent). Over the past decade, People who believe that using cannabis is not a moral concern have increased by 15 percent.
While shifting marijuana views, a substantial proportion of polled Americans (72 percent) believe that the federal government’s attempts to enact marijuana prohibitions consume more taxpayers’ money than legalizing it. Additionally, 60 percent agree that the federal government should refrain from enforcing federal bans on cannabis usage in counties that have decriminalized marijuana usages, such as Washington and Colorado.
Green, Ted V. “Americans Overwhelmingly Say Marijuana Should Be Legal for Recreational or Medical Use.” Pew Research Center, Web.
Brenan, Megan. “Support for Legal Marijuana Inches Up to New High of 68%.” Gallup.com, 2020, Web.
Denham, Bryan E. “Attitudes Toward Legalization of Marijuana in the United States, 1986-2016: Changes in Determinants of Public Opinion.” ScienceDirect.com | Science, Health and Medical Journals, Full Text Articles and Books. Web.