When Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared in 2016 that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” he clearly was out of step with the American people. A Gallup poll released earlier this month revealed just how out of touch America’s “top cop” was.
Marijuana Consumption OK
As more states legalize cannabis consumption, the moral stigma associated with marijuana is fading. According to a Gallup poll, 65 percent of Americans say consuming cannabis is morally acceptable. When it comes to booze, 78 percent find it acceptable.
For the first time in Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey, attitudes about the “morality of alcohol and marijuana items” were measured. The questionnaire asked Americans about the moral acceptance of 22 different behaviors and practices.
Alcohol and marijuana consumption rank near the top of the list of practices Americans consider morally acceptable. Only birth control, at 91 percent, gets a higher percentage of acceptance than drinking alcohol does. Smoking marijuana trails birth control, drinking alcohol and divorce (76 percent), but is on par with widely accepted acts including gambling, sex between an unmarried man and woman, gay or lesbian relations, stem cell research, and having a baby outside of marriage.
Not surprisingly, Gallup discovered that the morality scale for vices depended mostly on church attendance. “Majorities of key subgroups of Americans regard both drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana as morally acceptable, but highly religious Americans, as measured by the frequency with which they attend church, are less likely to do so,” according to Gallup. “While three-quarters of non-attenders say smoking marijuana is OK, less than half of regular churchgoers, 41 percent, agree.”
Gallup also detected other demographic groups may still find cannabis use morally unacceptable. “Other subgroup differences, including those by gender, age, race and political ideology, appear to reflect differences in church attendance among those groups. For example, nonwhites, women, older Americans and conservatives are more likely to attend church but less likely to say smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol are OK.”
Gallup surveyed more than 1,000 American adults on 21 topics. Respondents were asked whether the topic was “morally acceptable” or “morally wrong.”
Legalization of Cannabis Continues
Over the past two decades, Gallup polls have clearly shown a sea change in society’s view regarding cannabis. In October 2017, Gallup reported that an all-time high of 64 percent of respondents approved legalizing marijuana, nearly matching the 65 percent who find it morally acceptable. The Cannabis legalization trend continues to grow, in lockstep with increasing societal acceptance.
In its Values and Beliefs survey, Gallup noted that of respondents who identified as “liberal,” 81 percent believed cannabis was acceptable; for “moderates” it was 75 percent. Among “conservatives,” however, 49 percent found it morally objectionable.
Of course, what others think of your use of cannabis is irrelevant, especially if you are treating an ailment or disease. But the societal stigma surrounding marijuana is vanishing before our eyes.