Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Interesting demographic data from latest research on US marijuana opinions

Marijuana-fixed2The folks at YouGov, as detailed in this posting headlined "Most Americans support marijuana legalization," have released some interesting new data based on interviews of one thousands of Americans in mid-December 2015.  Here is part of the YouGov summary of its main findings:

Research from YouGov shows that a majority of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. 52% of Americans now support legalization, while only 34% oppose it.  This is slightly up from 48% support for legalization when the question was last asked in March 2015.

Over half of all adults under the age of 65 support it, but over-65s do tend to oppose (49%) rather than support (39%) legalization.  Politically, Democrats (66%) and independents (51%) want to legalize marijuana but half of Republicans are opposed. Just over a third of Republicans (36%) do support legalization, however.

While full legalization has the support of just over half of the country two-thirds of Americans believe that government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth.  Unsurprisingly a huge majority of people in favor of legalization (86%) say that the efforts cost more than they are worth, but even opponents of legalization narrowly tend to say that current efforts aren't worth the cost (42% to 33%).

As the last sentence of this summary reveals, the detailed YouGov poll results (which are available here) includes some interesting marijuana-related questions beyond just support for legalization reforms and its breaks down poll responses in some notable ways.

Of particular interest was that the only racial demographic not expressing majority support for legalization was "Hispanic" and the lowest level of support for for legalization among economic demographics was found among families making less than $50,000 per year. I tend to assume that minority populations and lower income groups are more inclined to support marijuana reform because these groups seem to be subject to a larger share of the criminal justice consequences of blanket prohibition. But this YouGov poll suggests that reality may be far more nuanced.

In addition, I find especially significant the findings and political demographic breakdowns concerning the question "Do you agree or disagree that government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth?". Notably, independents are more than five times more likely to agree (70%) than disagree (13%) with this statement, and even Republicans are more than twice as likely to agree (55%) than disagree (24%) with this statement. If other polls ask this question and produce similar result, such findings I think could well have a real impact on the positions of various presidential candidates in the months ahead.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/marijuana_law/2016/01/interesting-demographic-data-from-latest-research-on-us-marijuana-opinions-.html

Criminal justice developments and reforms, Political perspective on reforms, Polling data and results, Recreational Marijuana Data and Research, Who decides | Permalink

Comments

Marijuana creates same "High" effect as Chocolate but less hazardous due to "Obesity" concerns' and early childhood addictions'."A receptor is a structure on the surface of a cell that interacts with certain chemicals. Receptors have different shapes, and thus interact with specific molecules. diTomaso describes this interaction like this: "the active compound will lock itself to the protein and that triggers a reaction inside the cell." Cannabinoids are substances that act like cannabis, also known as marijuana. The active chemical in marijuana is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and there are receptors in the brain that bind THC. When THC binds to these receptors, the person feels "high." Anandamide is a lipid that is normally found in the brain; it can bind to the same receptors as THC and thus produce a similar effect to "being high."" ONLY difference is Chocolate is already F.D.A. approved for children and Adults'!

Posted by: James | Jan 17, 2016 11:22:41 AM

1st, Chocolate and Cannabis are not the same. There is no THC in chocolate and just because Anandamide uses the same receptor does not mean it causes the same effect. Regardless, cannabis should be legal for many other reasons.

2nd, Legal means legal and not with over bearing, highly restrictive and expensive regulations. That's not legalization. In fact, in CA, the current AUMA (sean parker) proposal adds more laws and regulations that will need to be enforced generating more local law enforcement costs then we currently have. More laws that include jail time for growing or possessing marijuana, that's not legalization. Just say no to any initiative that has jail time for cannabis users, it's not legalization.

Posted by: Mitch | Jan 17, 2016 11:51:53 AM

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