As should be perfectly obvious to anyone who’s turned on the radio, television, or those wacky newfangled computers and smartphones, we are living through a time of real political and social divides.
Politically, socially, and in just about any other area you could name, Americans feel divided and estranged from each other and fearful that we can’t work together to heal those differences.
Like so many hot-button issues of the day, cannabis is one that sparks strong feelings in both supporters and detractors. Of course, we’re all about full, well-regulated, and convenient access to safe and legal marijuana, but we understand and respect that some citizens don’t think it should be legal. Here are some thoughts about how cannabis might help bring people together rather than being yet another wedge that drives people apart.
Marijuana Legalization: A Party-Line Split? Sort Of
As reported late last year, a Pew Research Center study found that support for recreational cannabis decriminalization is broad, with 57% of respondents saying it should be legal for all uses (other surveys found that number to be as high as 61%.) This is a big change from just ten years ago when roughly 32% of Americans favored legalization.
When respondents are broken down by political affiliation, differences began to emerge. Roughly two-thirds of Democrats support legalization, as do an only slightly smaller number of moderate and liberal Republicans—but only 33% of conservative Republicans surveyed favor legalization. And as we’re seeing elsewhere on the national stage, right now the most conservative—and most liberal—voices are the ones breaking through the noise and clutter of this confused political landscape.
Cannabis Policy: Places to Agree
One issue that faces Americans of all political persuasions is healthcare. Regardless of our party affiliation, we all get sick, have costs associated with healthcare, and sometimes struggle to pay those costs. Here are some thoughts to help spark a conversation about some of these universal issues.
- The opioid epidemic affects Americans of every political persuasion. In 2015 it was responsible for upwards of 33,000 accidental deaths. In states that permit medical marijuana, patients’ use of prescription painkillers dropped by a whopping 64%.
- This reduction of dependence on prescription drugs has a real financial impact on our healthcare system. As far back as 2013—before the most recent waves of state-approved legalization—medical marijuana saved Medicare some $165 million. Some estimates as to what cannabis could save in the future run to over a billion dollars per year.
- Veterans, who are statistically more likely to identify as conservative or Republican, have found the same benefits as non-veteran, politically liberal citizens: It is a powerful antidote to the PTSD, anxiety, and depression that frequently accompany military service.
There are many more areas where we can find agreement across the political divide. After all, we all love liberty, good health, and natural, legal fun. If you have thoughts on bridging the political gap with cannabis, we want to hear about it. You know where to find us; drop us a line anytime!