There was a time when studying the results of public opinion surveys with regard to cannabis legalisation made for depressing reading. A couple of generations ago, the overwhelming majority of US citizens opposed the legalisation and use of cannabis in all its forms. Which is hardly surprising, given the extent of the propaganda being published at the time.
So it wasn’t exactly an inspiring picture for cannabis activists. These days however, things have made something of a dramatic turnaround. But in a sense, it’s actually even more depressing than it was back then.
The results of a new study suggest that most Americans support recreational cannabis legalization, while an even more spectacular majority would like to see it made readily available for medical purposes. According to the latest Harvard-Harris survey, pretty much half (or 49% if being specific) of American citizens believe that the time has come for the legalization of cannabis, both for recreational and medical purposes. In addition, a further 37% stated that they would be happy to see cannabis legalised for medical use only.
Which effectively translates as 86% of the entire country supporting cannabis legalization in one form or another, even though only 45% of the country have consumed cannabis at least once. Meaning that just 14% are happy with cannabis legislation as it exists today.
On the surface, this constitutes nothing other than a fantastic turn of events for proactive cannabis supporters. In reality however, it makes you acutely aware of the fact that the overwhelming public opinion apparently has no bearing on the decisions made by supposedly democratic governments.
As far as close to nine in ten Americans are concerned, cannabis in one form or another should be legalised at a Federal level. Nevertheless, the likelihood of this happening at any time in the near future is pretty much zero. Worse still, the findings of the study were published at the same time current (though perhaps not much longer) Atty. General Jeff Sessions is rumoured to be preparing to wage war on cannabis users across the country. The long and short of it being that a report is scheduled to be released by the justice department shortly, which will once again attempt to draw links between various crimes and the sale, distribution and use of cannabis.
In turn, it may also recommend that tougher sentences are handed out for anyone involved in the supply or use of cannabis whatsoever.
Which is pretty infuriating for two reasons. First of which being that once again, this is a nonsensical opinion that goes against the general consensus of almost every American citizen. Secondly, there hasn’t been a study to date that has drawn even the slightest link between cannabis legalisation and elevated crime.
In fact, areas in which cannabis has been legalised have noted a significant decrease in overall crime rates – all directly attributed to the legalisation of pot.
“Voters point to drugs as the major source of crime and support tough sentences for drug dealers but view marijuana in a wholly different light,” Harvard-Harris co-director Mark Penn said.
“Most think legalization of marijuana would probably be helpful in reducing crime and almost half support legalization.”
By contrast, something the American public does appear to be in complete agreement about is the escalating opioid crisis in the United States. While 88% of those polled stated that drug abuse is a serious problem across the US, Mr. Sessions called it the “worst drug crisis” in the history of the country.
Which would seem to suggest that he clearly hasn’t bothered reading any of the studies into the potential benefits of medical cannabis for those battling opioid addiction.
Ever get the feeling you’re banging your head against a brick wall?