How Does Marijuana Divide the Country?
There has been controversy about the smoking of marijuana in the US for decades. American support for legalizing marijuana has changed a great deal, according to the statistics in the graphic below.
According to these statistics, American support for legalizing the drug has greatly increased by decade:
- 1969: 12%
- 1980: 24%
- 1991: 17%
- 2002: 32%
- 2013: 52%
What is not in doubt is that the smoking of marijuana produces a high as THC enters the lungs and the blood stream and is carried throughout the body. THC actually hits the brain in mere seconds after inhaled, and in about an hour after it is ingested. When the THC is in the brain, it then affects the cannabinoid receptors, which usually are activated by anandamide. This is a natural cannabinoid that the body produces, but the THC activates artificially.
This graphic also shows that many people have tried marijuana in the US, with 48% having tried it. Also, 77% think that the use of the drug has legitimate medical uses. And arresting people for marijuana possession is expensive, with 42% of all drug arrests involving the drug, and 5.5% of all arrests.
Meanwhile, it is clear that the legalization of marijuana in Colorado has had a positive impact:
- Taxes: Colorado’s tax revenues have increased $134 million, and $11 million in tax revenue was generated with the first month of legal sales.
- Crime: Since pot was legalized, both violent crime rates and property crime rates.
- Job Creation: Legalization of pot creates new jobs and can actually help to shrink the black market for the drug.
At this time, the drug still is illegal for all uses in most states. It is legal for medical use, however, in the following states:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
It is totally legal only in Washington state and Colorado.
As this graphic clearly shows, the controversy over legalizing marijuana continues to evolve in ways that are hard to anticipate. Who knows what America’s stance will be on the drug in another 20 years?