Seven out of ten Americans believe that smoking marijuana is morally acceptable, according to a poll that tracks values and beliefs in the United States. Results of the poll that surveys American’s views on the moral acceptability of 21 different social issues were released this week by Gallup.
When asked about cannabis, 70% of the poll’s respondents said that “smoking marijuana” was morally acceptable, while 28% said it was morally wrong. The remaining 2% said that smoking marijuana was not a moral issue, it depends on the situation, or that they had no opinion.
Justin Strekal, the political director for the cannabis advocacy group the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said that the results of the poll reflect Americans’ changing opinion of pot, noting that moral acceptance of cannabis had increased by five percentage points since Gallup asked the question only one year ago.
“Public opinion continues to drastically evolve in favor of marijuana’s legal and cultural status and it is time that the federal laws evolve as well,” Strekal said in a press release.
On other social issues facing Americans today, about two-thirds of those polled said that having a baby outside of marriage, same-sex relations, and medical research involving stem cells from human embryos are morally acceptable. Even stronger acceptance was expressed for gambling, sex between an unmarried man and woman, divorce, and drinking alcohol. A majority of Americans also found medical testing on animals, the death penalty, buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur, and doctor-assisted suicide morally acceptable.
The poll found that Americans are split on the morality of abortion, with 44% saying it is morally acceptable and 47% saying abortion is morally wrong. A majority of Americans said that the remaining seven issues they were asked about were morally wrong, including 89% who found married men and women having an affair morally unacceptable. Cloning humans, suicide, polygamy, cloning animals, pornography, and sex between teenagers were also believed to be morally wrong by a majority of the poll’s respondents.
Acceptance Of Pot Differs By Political Ideology
Moral acceptance of smoking marijuana varied significantly by political ideology. For those who identify as liberal, 83% said cannabis use was acceptable. In contrast, only 51% of those who identify as politically conservative agreed, although Strekal found encouragement in the acceptance expressed by a majority of those from both sides of the aisle.
“As we approach Independence Day, 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,” he said as he called for continued reform of cannabis policy. “Politicians in Washington should take this opportunity ahead of the 2020 elections to move forward legislation, like The MORE Act, to both amend this failed policy and address the inequities and injustices it has brought for generations, particularly against communities of color.”
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Gallup’s Values and Beliefs poll of American adults was conducted May 1 through 13. Gallup has measured Americans’ beliefs about the moral acceptability of cannabis use and numerous other social issues each May since 2001.