Politics Magazine

Americans Don't Think Marijuana Is Harmful To Users

Posted on the 10 August 2014 by Jobsanger
Americans Don't Think Marijuana Is Harmful To Users
This chart was made from information in a new NBC News / Wall Street Journal Poll -- conducted between July 30th and August 3rd of 1,000 randomly chose national adults, and having a margin of error of 3.1 points.
This chart gives us a big clue as to why a majority of Americans now think marijuana should be legalized for recreational use by adults. Only a tiny portion of Americans now see marijuana as harmful to an individual who uses it -- about 8%. That's far less than the percentage that think alcohol (24%) and tobacco (49%) are harmful to users -- and they are legal drugs. Even sugar (at 15%) is viewed more harmful to users than marijuana.
This poses the question -- why do slightly more than 40% of Americans still oppose legalization? It is because they have still not been able to discard all of the marijuana myths put forward by the government and right-wingers. While they have been able to understand marijuana is not dangerous to its users, they are not sure about three other myths.
1. Marijuana is a gateway drug, leading users to other much more dangerous drugs. This is false, and common sense should tell us that. While a huge percentage of Americans have smoked marijuana (about 41%, or more than 100 million Americans), only a tiny percentage of the population uses harder and more dangerous drugs (about 6.7%). If marijuana was a "gateway drug", then this percentage should be much higher.
2. Legalizing marijuana will cause the overall crime rate to increase. This is simply been proven to be false by what has happened in Colorado -- because in the first six months since marijuana was legal, crime (both violent and property crimes) went down.
3. Legalizing marijuana will cause traffic fatalities to increase as more people drive "under the influence". The Colorado experience also shows this is false. Traffic fatalities have not increased in that state since legalization, and continue their overall downward trend (being slightly lower than last year). This verifies the several studies that have shown drivers "high" on marijuana are no more dangerous than drivers on no drug at all.
The truth is that marijuana use is not dangerous -- neither to the user nor to the general public. And because of that, we need to stop making criminals out of those who use it recreationally. Legalizing its use would also create jobs (on farms and in the wholesale and retail industries), and it would increase government revenues (by taxing the sale of marijuana). It is time to legalize this gentle herb.

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