A supermajority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, despite recent negative coverage due to vaping illnesses.
A mysterious vaping illness is linked to nearly 1,500 cases and resulted in 33 deaths, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though the illness caused legal marijuana users to stop buying vaping products, it hasn’t changed Americans’ perspective on marijuana legalization one bit.
Two-thirds of Americans support legalizing cannabis, according to a Gallup poll first reported by Forbes. This is the same percentage the polling firm found last year regarding marijuana legalization, demonstrating that negative coverage around vaping hasn’t significantly influenced the country’s thinking on cannabis. The steady support around legalization encouraged cannabis advocates like Justin Strekal, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
“There is no buyer’s remorse on the part of the American people,” Strekal said in a statement. “In recent years, American’s support for legalization has only grown stronger. At the end of the day, every age demographic below 65, representing the overwhelming majority of the taxpaying public, would rather their dollars be spent to regulate cannabis, not incarcerate its consumers.”
Gallup reported no major differences were found among major groups or subgroups in supporting marijuana legalization. Most expected categories like millennials (80%) and Democrats (76%) favor legalization. Only conservatives (48%) and senior citizens (49%) count as outliers where legalizing is not the majority position within the group.
This isn’t expected to change anytime soon, Gallup reported. When Gallup first began polling for marijuana legalization in 1971, only 12% of Americans supported it. Over the past 15 years, we’ve seen a rapid 180-degree turn from Americans who are now a supermajority when it comes to marijuana legalization.
While vaping illnesses remains a chief concern among the American public, mainstream press and cannabis media alike have responded that legalization is the first step in solving the problem. The majority of vaping illness cases stem from THC cartridges bought on the black market, where marijuana concentrates are often cut with toxic chemicals to extend product. Should legalization occur, marijuana products like vape pens would be regulated by health officials and tested to ensure safety for the public.