Since 1969, the number of Americans who support the legalization of marijuana has significantly increased, and it continues to grow. In 2015, 53% of Americans supported legalizing marijuana, compared to only 12% in 1969.
The largest increase in the support has occurred in the past few years. Prior to 2010, many Americans still felt marijuana should be illegal. Now that has changed, and more people support the legalization of marijuana. Between 2010 and 2013, support for marijuana increased by 11 points, alone.
Approximately 49% of Americans have reported they have tried marijuana at least once. In addition, 12% have reported they have used marijuana in the past year, while 18.9 million people state they have used marijuana in the past month.
One of main reasons for the shift in the support of marijuana is that people are becoming better educated about marijuana. They now understand marijuana is much safer compared to legal drugs, like alcohol and nicotine.
Alcohol has been directly linked to the deaths of approximately 76,000 American every year, whereas marijuana has never been directly related to the death of a single person. Further, the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, is less toxic than nicotine.
Marijuana even provides several health benefits, unlike alcohol and nicotine, including:
- Slows Tumor Growth
- Prevents Seizures and Alzheimer’s
- Relieves the Symptoms of ADHD, ADD, OCD, and Tourette’s
- Helps with the Effects of Chemotherapy in Cancer Patients
- Can Be Used to Treat Migraines, Glaucoma, and Possibly Multiple Sclerosis
From a financial standpoint, the legalization of marijuana makes sense, too. Rather than spend $42 billion per year by the federal government to enforce anti-marijuana laws and imprison people for marijuana-related charges, the legalization of marijuana could provide consistent revenue, not just for the federal government, but also for state governments.
California’s medical marijuana dispensaries generates an estimated $105 million in tax revenues each year. In addition, during the first two months since its legalization in Colorado, the state collected $6.17 million in tax revenues just from marijuana.
Last, another benefit of legalizing marijuana is that crime rates where marijuana has already been legalized in other countries are much lower, compared to those in the United States.