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70 Percent of Americans Think Consuming Cannabis Is Morally Acceptable

The survey indicates that the shift in American views on marijuana continues to evolve in favor of cannabis.

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A new survey from Gallup has found 70 percent of Americans believe smoking cannabis is morally acceptable. That’s more than those who think stem cell research, having a baby out of wedlock, and gay and lesbian relations are morally acceptable, according to the study.

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Clearly, the once-taboo idea of consuming cannabis has become mainstream. However, it’s only after taking a closer look at the survey numbers that you find a divide in what conservatives and liberals believe is moral.

Cannabis provides a telling example, with stronger support among those who identified as liberals. Among that group, 83 percent said marijuana is moral. Among those who identified as conservative, only 51 percent said it was morally acceptable.

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Overall, though, the shift to seeing weed in a favorable light is noteworthy. As NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said in reaction to the survey: “It is reassuring to see that majorities of both sides of the ideological spectrum agree that adults should be free from the shackles of marijuana prohibition.”

The results provide an intriguing look at where people fall on the issues.

The survey indicates that the shift in American views on marijuana continues to evolve in favor of cannabis. That could indicate that the past decade of offering people information and education on cannabis, rather than Reefer Madness rhetoric flamed by politics, has led to a change in how people think about weed.

And while a major gap exists between liberals and conservatives, Gallup noted that a majority of both groups found smoking cannabis morally acceptable. That’s not the case on many issues.

Overall, the level of moral acceptance of marijuana was on par with that given to gambling, sex between an unmarried man or woman, and divorce. And it is higher than the percentage of people who found the following morally acceptable:

  • Gay and lesbian relations (66 percent)
  • Medical testing on animals (56 percent)
  • Death penalty (54 percent)
  • Buying and wearing products made from animal fur (54 percent)
  • Abortion (44 percent)
  • Cloning animals (34 percent)

But big differences remain between those on the right and those on the left. As noted by LGBTQ Nation, “The differences come from conservatives. While self-identified liberals in the poll were about equally supportive of LGBTQ people and cannabis...less than half of conservatives (43 percent) said that gay relationships are moral while just over half (51 percent) were fine with marijuana.”

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Here are some other numbers showing the divide in American viewpoints.

Sex-related topics dominated the list of subjects where liberals and conservatives disagree the most on what is moral and what is not moral.

They include gay or lesbian relations (84 percent of liberals vs. 43 percent of conservatives), sex between teenagers (60 percent of liberals vs. 20 percent of conservatives), and pornography (56 percent of liberals vs. 19 percent of conservatives). In that context, the gap between conservatives and liberals on the morality of marijuana is relatively small at 32 percent.

Where do liberals and conservatives agree? On drinking alcohol: 87 percent of liberals and 82 percent of conservatives think it's moral. Also, 59 percent of conservatives and 55 percent of liberals think medical testing on animals is moral.

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