Disagreements over dangers of marijuana and legalizing it


Sarah Salvadore

The Pew Research Center, has published a debate on legalizing marijuana. According to a new survey, 53% of those polled are in favor of the legal use of marijuana, while 44% are opposed.  As recently as 2006, just 32% supported legalization of marijuana, while nearly twice as many (60%) were opposed.

The survey was conducted among 1500 adults and finds that supporters of legalizing the use of marijuana are far more likely than opponents to say they have changed their mind on this issue.

But the survey indicated that it’s the millennials who are on the forefront of this change in mindset. Around 68% were in favor for legalizing the drug, which is the highest in any age cohort.

The article does a great job in observing the patterns of change in the mindset of adults on the issue, over the years. It has mapped well the pattern of opinion. What it also does is map the respondents according to ethnicity and gender. Sample this paragraph: Majorities of blacks (58%) and whites (55%) favor legalizing marijuana, compared with just 40% of Hispanics. Meanwhile 52% whites admitted to using marijuana, when compared to 50% of African American. Among Hispanics, only 36% say they have tried marijuana.  Men (57% favor) continue to be more likely than women (49%) to support legalization.

It also goes into details of mapping people according to their political affiliations. The survey cites 6 in 10 Democrats being in favor of legalizing marijuana, while conservative Republicans oppose it roughly by two-to-one (65% to 32%). Moderate and liberal Republicans were however divided over this.

The new survey also found that some states have legalized marijuana, placing them at odds with the federal prohibition against it. 59% say that the federal government should not enforce laws in states that legalize the se of marijuana.

The does a good job at getting various facets of the debate. It highlights age, ethnicity, political affiliations, etc. But the only problem with this survey is that the sample size is too small. It’s not reflective of what the larger population have to say. Plus, when talking about certain states that have legalized the drug, I wonder what the sample size there would be to make conclusions. There are other ethnicities that are missing from the survey and maybe they do have an impact on it.

Plus, when using the survey to make statements like marijuana is no worse than other drugs, the hypothesis should be based on some absolute truth. Or a survey or medical researches.





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