Surveys: Majority of Americans want to decriminalize, and most pot users are medical
A couple of new surveys are out this week, and both have some good insights on where cannabis sits in the US today.
The first survey was put together by a libertarian group called The Cato Institute, as part of a larger project examining how Americans feel about work. In a survey of 1700 adults, the group says that 55 percent of Americans want to see drug offenses in general decriminalized, or moved “from felonies to civil offenses, meaning they would be treated like minor traffic violations rather than crimes,” as the question asks. Democrats were most in favor of the recategorization (at 69% — nice), while only 40% of Republicans supported the suggestion. Legalization, of course, is the goal of most cannabis advocates, though decriminalization is certainly helpful (and can be a huge benefit for minority citizens that have been unjustly punished by the War on Drugs). Already, many places in the US have chosen to decriminalize cannabis at least — sometimes not quite by design.
In other survey news, a survey published by an arm of the American Medical Association says that there are many more medical users than recreational users of cannabis — nearly two times as many. In a survey of 170,000 cannabis users (that’s a big sample!), 46% of them reported using cannabis for medical purposes, like treating an illness or fighting pain. Meanwhile, only 22% of them said that they used cannabis specifically to get high.
The survey also found that younger people used the drug more — 25% of young adults with medical conditions said they used cannabis, compared to only 2.2% of those 65 and older. The researchers suggested that as public acceptance of the drug increases, older people with medical issues would likely be more interested in using it as well.
That medical percentage is a bit higher than we might expect, but given cannabis’ current legal status, it makes sense that most of the current use is medically related. Here at The Elegant Stoner, we’re fans of recreational use mostly, but if people can find that cannabis benefits them medically, then we’re happy to hear it does that as well.