Poll: 80% Americans Want to Legalize Medical Marijuana

January 21, 2010 in Health Policy, Medicine by RangelMD

Really? This is up 11 points since 1997 according to the ABCNews/Washington Post Poll. What’s even more dramatic is that the percentage of Americans who won’t mind allowing their fellow citizens to possess small amounts of pot for personal (non-medical) uses has increased from 22% in ’97 to 49%

It’s interesting to note that these increases in public support for legal marijuana came mostly during the supposed conservative ideological swing in this nation right after 9/11 and the Presidency of G.W.Bush. Maybe this was because of an increase in legalizing marijuana for medical use during this time, or maybe it was because the stark reality of 9/11 showed us that there are far more important things to spend hundreds of Billions of dollars on than regulating personal behavior. Or maybe the change is due in part to the fact that the old guard is slowly dieing off (personal use legalization was supported by just 23% of those over the age of 65 and 51% of those younger than 65).

Maybe it’s because of the slow realization that our “war on drugs” is doing little to reduce domestic consumption of marijuana (though cocaine/heroin use decreased dramatically after the ’80s and remains relatively low) while billions of dollars in partly US funded anti-drug law enforcement efforts have clashed with a lucrative drug trade in Mexico to create the perfect storm of violence that threatens to destabilize the one country on the entire planet that we can least afford to let go down the toilet.

The most amusing finding from the poll is that among those who “oppose medical marijuana, 75% say that if it is allowed, it should be limited to seriously or terminally ill patients.” More harmful than potent narcotics?  It amusing to know people who oppose even legalized medical marijuana consider it to be so dangerous that they believe that it should be used only as a last resort. As if marijuana is the nuclear weapon of drugs. And they continue to wallow in their ignorance despite evidence to the contrary.

The percentage of Americans who support some form of legalized marijuana continues to increase to near record levels. This is unprecedented in a nation that has a hard time uniting and agreeing on anything short of war and yet Washington remains mute on this issue.

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