Is Support for Cannabis Legalization Waning?
September 29th, 2014
Policy, Top News
The U.S. cannabis industry has seen a number of big wins through 2013, including medical legalization in 23 states and Washington D.C. and adult-use legalization in Colorado and Washington. But, support for cannabis legalization may be shrinking in 2014, according to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute.
The 4,500-person survey found that support for legalization shrank from 51% in 2013 to 44% in 2014, while opposition to legalization jumped from 44% to 50%. According to the survey’s authors, the shift appears to be most apparent in those who either slightly favored or slightly opposed legalization in 2013.
Notably, the waning support for legalization in the PRRI survey comes in stark contrast to an October 2013 Gallup poll that found majority support for the first time ever. In that survey, 58% of respondents supported legalization compared to just 39% of respondents opposing legalization.
The differences between surveys results are often attributed to the way that questions are worded, which makes comparisons between surveys less meaningful than comparisons with the same survey over time. Even accounting for same-survey comparisons, respondents tend to be especially volatile when it comes to the topic.
Many hurdles ahead
The cannabis legalization movement has made a lot of progress over the past two years, but the industry still faces an uphill battle. On a federal level, cannabis remains a Schedule I Controlled Substance – a classification that it shares with drugs like heroin and cocaine – and federal crackdowns could occur at any time.
Medical marijuana has been shown to improve patient outcomes in areas like pain management and epilepsy, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been critical of opioid-based medications due to their addictive nature, and the agency could have similar concerns (founded or not) over cannabinoid-based therapies.
The safety of cannabis also remains a debatable topic. While some studies have shown a drop in opioid overdose and other benefits, others have found an increase in daily marijuana usage among minors that were less likely to finish school. These studies aren’t definitive in either way and more research is likely to be needed.
In the end, cannabis legalization has made a lot of progress over the past couple years, but there’s a long road ahead. Public opinion seems to sway depending on the time and survey, but the substance’s compelling medical benefits and strong tax revenue for governments provides ample ammunition for the fight to continue.
This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.
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