New Polls Suggest Strong Support for Medical Marijuana and Recreational Legalization

Marijuana Legalization Efforts

Wikimedia Commons Image by Bart Everson via Flickr
A new poll released by the Pew Research Center suggests (no surprise) that a slight majority of Americans show support for marijuana legalization efforts, both for medical and recreational use, but with caveats of course.

Demographic Data
For instance, the strongest show of support for legalization across the board (both recreational and medical use) comes form the Millennial population in the U.S. This comes as not much of a surprise, as well as the next strongest show of support demographic of 35- to 55-year-olds. The elderly and baby boomer generations are not as enthusiastic but were also raised among different cultural perceptions, propaganda and misinformation. However, with Millennials, political party doesn't seem to matter as much as with the latte groups.

The study was reported on the Huffington Post last week here.

It was also reported that people are now much more likely to be swayed toward legalization than against it. Both identified groups Democrat and Independent are about 20 percent more likely to show support than Republicans overall. However, this is a period in which those that identify with the GOP has shown the strongest support for marijuana legalization since Pew started polling with the question.

The Pew Study can be found

Medical Grade
What is also new to the results of this paradigm shift point to the culture's belief in its medical applications. Many supporters, according to the Pew data, cite medical benefits as a common denominator in their decision to support the cause. This is a fairly new phenomena that ultimately found its most force within legislatures in several U.S. states including California (with Prop 421), Colorado, Washington, Minnesota, Washington D.C. and Massachusetts. Many U.S. states, even in the South and Midwest, are now considering regulated marijuana markets to become legal, mostly in the medical form. Minnesota is among the strictest in terms of regulation. There, it must be manufactured into an oil or pill only and can only be grown by two farms in the entire state.

Weed's pharmaceutical applications in the treating of epilepsy children and cancer have been the focal point of successful medical marijuana campaigns. However, the substance has been found to be effective in hundreds, if not thousands, of scenarios or applications. It will likely be that marijuana's entry into full recreational legalization and regulation will start with medical use campaigns. It wasn't long ago that alcohol, like whiskey, was used as an anesthetic during surgery for gangrene and other operations. MDMA, opiates, LSD and meth were all either cultivated/developed for medical applications or government military operations. These days, they are popular street drugs, but the emerging substance abuse problems are now being cultivated with a market fulfilled by big pharma and new designer drugs.

New Policies Forming
Many states are now questioning the logic behind failed policies but also looking for an opportunity to raise tax revenue through marijuana regulation. So will Millennial be the generation to break new ground in finally legalizing pot? Even U.S. President Barack Obama and the White House are proposing new ways to deal with the many states now considering passing laws that are intrinsically opposed to the official federal policy. A new president one day elected by Millennials (or even appointed by them) may one day sign a bill into federal law to repeal its prohibition as was done with alcohol once.