To the people I knew growing up, smoking pot was as much about rebellion as it was about the high. Some people – the good students and athletes with a wild side – got a rush by hiding it from the clean-cut jocks and bookworms. Others flaunted it – with their Grateful Dead tie-dyes and hemp bracelets – showing off their non-conformist style.
All of that seems to be changing, and changing fast. Sometime between my first kid being born and planning my fast-approaching 40th birthday party, I looked up and noticed that 23 states had legalized marijuana for medical use, 2 legalized it for recreation, and more seem to be considering it. Even the New York Times is endorsing it. Wait, what?
Is it possible that pot has become conventional? I have to know. So, our data scientists looked at polling data we collected at CivicScience to see what we could find.
We analyzed a sample of 453,635 U.S. adults over the past two years who answered the following question: “Would you support or oppose a law in your state that would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana like alcohol?” 58% of respondents support legalization; 35% oppose it; 7% have no strong opinion. Looking only at data over the past three months, support bumps up to 61%, while 30% oppose, and 8% have no strong opinion.
Weed sympathizers clearly outnumber weed opponents in the U.S. today, and ours aren’t the only data that say so. The Pew Foundation published similar numbers in April 2014 – though with a slightly lower (54%) level of support, which could be attributed to margin of error, different question wording, changes over time, or some combination. But I digress.
The scales haven’t tipped because the population of stereotypical stoners somehow exploded in the last decade. We now live in a world (or at least a country) where smoking herb (or at least condoning it) is no longer the exclusive realm of outliers and rebels. Weed has gone mainstream. Weed is trending.
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