What Americans Think About Marijuana

What Americans think about marijuana in 2022. More Americans than not now say marijuana benefits those who use it. In a recent Gallup poll, 53 percent of Americans said marijuana use has a positive effect on people, while just 45 percent said it has a negative effect. Asked whether it has a positive effect on society, respondents were near evenly split (49 percent yes, 50 percent no).

Interestingly, Americans’ views of marijuana are much more positive than their views of alcohol. In the same July poll, 75 percent said alcohol negatively affects society and 71 percent said it has a negative effect on those consumer it.

Fifty-five percent said the effect of alcohol was “somewhat negative,” and 20 percent said it was “very negative.” For marijuana, only 31 percent said “somewhat negative” and 19 percent “very negative.”

The latest poll was conducted in July among a random sample of 1,013 US adults. (The margin of error is plus or minus 4 to 5 percentage points, depending on the question.)

Perceptions of marijuana were influenced by whether respondents had tried it, with those who had much more likely to describe its benefits on users and society as positive. Seventy percent of people who had ever tried marijuana said it had a positive effect on users (compared to 35 percent of those who had never tried it) and 66 percent said it had a positive effect on society (compared to 27 percent of those who had never tried it).

About half—48 percent—of respondents said they had tried marijuana at some point.

“The rate was 4% when Gallup first asked about it in 1969, climbed to 24% by 1977, was 33% in 1985 and had crossed the 40% threshold by 2015,” reports Gallup. The rise is stunning, even if it’s surely influenced in part by a greater number of people being willing to admit they have tried it.

About 16 percent of those surveyed said they currently consume marijuana—the highest percentage Gallup has ever recorded, although not a big rise over the 12 percent who said as much last year.

Support for marijuana legalization is even more widespread. Some 68 percent of those surveyed support legalization, tied for the record high with Gallup’s November 2021 poll.

Just the latest reminder that US drug policy is way out of step with American habits and opinions.


FOLLOW-UP

Trump team offers confusing narrative about document hoarding. Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers “have offered up a variety of arguments” in defense of his keeping classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, reports The New York Times. “Often tinged with Mr. Trump’s own bombast and sometimes conflating his powers as president with his role as a private citizen, the legal arguments put forth by his team sometimes strike lawyers not involved in the case as more about setting a political narrative than about dealing with the possibility of a federal prosecution.”

On Friday, the Justice Department released the affadvait used to get a search warrant of Mar-a-Lago in the first place. Because the “search warrant affidavit is heavily redacted, it does not resolve lingering questions about the FBI’s justification for former President Donald Trump’s residence at his Palm Beach resort,” notes Reason’s Jacob Sullum. “But the document does shed some light on the circumstances that led to the August 8 search.”


FREE MINDS

New data reveal the rise and fall of various college majors. The data—from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System—show that majors in history, religion, English, language and literature, and area studies (eg, gender studies) continued to fall, while majors in philosophy continued to rebound after falling for many years. Majors experiencing the biggest rise include aeronautics, criminology, law, computer science, exercise science, and psychology.


FREE MARKETS

Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s plan to rob from tech companies to pay media outlets “won’t save the press,” writes Jennifer Huddleston, policy counsel at NetChoice and an adjunct professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. The Minnesota Democrat’s Journalism Competition and Preservation Act “reveals is that the heart of the antitrust crusade by Klobuchar and other neo-Brandeisians is not actually about consumer protection or small businesses. and industries they prefer.” More here.


QUICK HITS

• “Russia and Ukraine traded claims of missile and bomb strikes at or near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant on Sunday, intensifying fears that the fighting could cause a massive radiation leak,” the Associated Press reports.

• “I remain a fan of debt in general—it’s really one of the greatest inventions in human history when used wisely,” writes Reason‘s Nick Gillespie. “But something has gone terribly wrong when people who voluntarily sign up for money and can afford to pay it back get to skip out on the check.”

“Wiping out 10k in student debt is not the most expensive part of the Biden student loan program,” writes Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution.

• How “love languages” conquered American pop culture.

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted July 5-26, 2022, with a random sample of 1,013 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the sample of 514 national adults in Form A and the 499 national adults in Form B, the margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted July 5-26, 2022, with a random sample of 1,013 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the sample of 514 national adults in Form A and the 499 national adults in Form B, the margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted July 5-26, 2022, with a random sample of 1,013 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the sample of 514 national adults in Form A and the 499 national adults in Form B, the margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

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