According to a recent CBS News poll, a striking majority of Americans believe that marijuana use should be legalized. In fact, the number has increased by five points from last year, bringing it up to the highest percentage ever recorded on the CBS poll.
Sixty-one percent of those polled believe that the drug should be legalized for recreational use. Only 33 percent believe that it should still be kept illegal, which is a 3 percent drop from last year. Eighty-eight percent favor medical marijuana use.
The poll also suggested that the public believes that marijuana legalization should be a state issue, rather than a federal one. Federal restrictions on marijuana are opposed by Republicans (63 percent), Democrats (76 percent), and Independents (72 percent); a 71 percent average. The poll showed that 65 percent think that marijuana is not as dangerous as other drugs, and 23 percent believe that the legalization of the drug would lead to crime.
Support for legalization differs by age, but not by much. Millennials ages 18-34 overwhelmingly support recreational marijuana by 76 percent, while those ages 35-64 all support legalization in the low 60s. Only the elderly age 65 and older believe that marijuana should still be illegal, with only 37 percent approving of legalization.
The poll was conducted by telephone April 11-15 among a random sample of 1,011 adults nationwide.
Federal law still prohibits marijuana use, however the previous administration declared it would not enforce federal marijuana laws, with former President Barack Obama saying that attempting to enforce a “patchwork where something that’s legal in one state could get you a 20-year prison sentence in another,” is “untenable over the long term.” Before Obama’s final term was up, he commuted the sentences of hundreds of non-violent drug offenders.
The Trump administration’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has said that pot is only “slightly less awful” than heroin, has made it clear that he is adamantly against the legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medicinal uses. Sessions claims that medical marijuana specifically “has been hyped, maybe too much.” Sessions plans on pursuing more drug cases, and minimum mandatory sentencing.
A handful of states have already begun to legalize marijuana for recreational use, including Colorado, California, and Nevada. 29 states have legalized the drug for medicinal uses already.
TheBlaze’s own Lawrence Jones has released a short documentary about two people who have benefited from the use of medical marijuana, including a 33-year-old man named Eric Espinoza, who found relief from his cerebral palsy with the use of the drug.
Jones also interviewed a family with a 17-year-old daughter who suffers from severe autism that causes her to engage in self-harming behavior. The family shows how the use of medical marijuana curbs their daughter’s violent impulses.