Performed by Vox in conjunction with Morning Consult, the poll marks a noteworthy shift away from the government’s War on Drugs and marijuana prohibition — largely considered a failed venture by experts, advocates, and observers.
Of the 2,000 registered U.S. voters polled, another telling facet of arbitrary legality came to light: far more are opposed to legalized dangerous substances in the form of pharmaceuticals than are opposed to cannabis.
Big Pharma’s drugs, in fact, were found by a study in 2014 to kill more people than all illegal drugs — combined.
The poll also queried specifically whether people support or oppose decriminalization of various substances, defined as “no arrest, prison time, or criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount.” Wholly 59 percent of respondents affirmed that cannabis users simply shouldn’t be treated as criminals.
Unfortunately, when it comes to every other substance — even those with scientifically-proven medical and psychological benefits, like psilocybin — Americans fall harshly on the side of criminal penalties for possession and use.
It seems apparent cannabis maintains the advantage, having been legalized or decriminalized in varying degrees in a number of states. Perhaps the myriad economic and medicinal benefits making headlines have boosted the plant’s reputation in mainstream culture, while the Drug War’s negative PR effectively clings to similarly harmless substances.
While the U.S. obviously hasn’t come to the consensus necessary to end the War on Drugs as Portugal, Ireland, and others have done, the new poll echoes similar results — and evidences the country has, at least, tired of cannabis prohibition.