Lawmakers in the United States Lag Well Behind Their Constituents on Pot

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No one every claimed that the democratic process was inherently fast, but it sometimes seems to take forever. In the eyes of the law, a few decades is almost meaningless. However, in the eyes of the public, two decades is enough time to change things completely.

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of American adults support legalizing cannabis, up from 31 percent in 2000. That’s not the support for medical cannabis; that level is actually much higher and has been for years. That 61 percent majority favors the idea of letting adults purchase, use, and even grow cannabis legally. Gallup, another trusted source for domestic public polling, found support at roughly 64 percent.

In fact, Gallup found that 45 percent of people copped to having tried cannabis, while another 12 percent admit to currently using it. If that number seems high, compare that with their finding that 37 percent of men ages 18 to 49 have had alcohol in the last 24 hours. That figure goes up to 45 percent for men at or over the age of 50. Despite the increasing legal availability of cannabis, abuse rates for the plant aren’t going through the roof.

Currently, however, efforts at federal drug reform art stymied by a combative Justice Department and a legislature that can’t seem to finish even simple tasks. Many lawmakers, mostly Republicans and those who skew conservative, seem intent on blocking any federal reform in our national approach to cannabis.

Of course, true conservatives advocate for the rights of states and want to limit the power and involvement of the government. That should mean supporting common-sense laws that allow people to grow and possess a plant that has existed for millennia. Hopefully, as more Americans come to see the futility of the War on Drugs, more lawmakers will adjust their stance.

For previous Ladybud content discussing the War on Drugs, click here.

Photo Credit: Democracy Chronicles Under CC BY 2.0