By Ed Coghlan
As the pressure on opioids grows, support for marijuana legalization is at an all-time high.
President Donald Trump—who promised his opioid declaration months ago—said Wednesday he would declare a national emergency next week on opioid abuse, a move that could give states access to federal funds to fight the drug crisis.
Meanwhile, for the first time ever, majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republican voters say believe marijuana should be legal for adults. That’s according to nationwide polling data released today by Gallup. 64 percent of US adults now back legalizing marijuana which is believed to be the highest ever recorded in a national poll.
For chronic pain patients, many of whom feel under siege because of the relentless political pressure on opioids, the marijuana polls are interesting news. Many chronic pain patients already use marijuana to manage their pain.
Marijuana is still illegal nationally, which is ironic given that eight states (including the largest one, California) and the District of Columbia have all fully legalized marijuana. To give you a sense of how much national attitudes have changed on marijuana, Gallup first asked people about their views on marijuana legalization in 1969 and only 12% said they approved.
The poll results put pressure on Attorney General Jeff Sessions who curiously has aggressively resisted efforts to even study marijuana for medical use.
Rank-and-file Republicans’ views on the issue have evolved just as Democrats’ and independents’ have, though Republicans remain least likely to support legalizing pot. But still 51% of self-identified Republicans believes marijuana should be legal.
The trajectory of Americans’ views on marijuana is similar to that of their views on same-sex marriage over the past couple of decades. On both issues, about a quarter supported legalization in the late 1990s, and today 64% favor each. Over the past several years, Gallup has found that Americans have become more liberal on a variety of social issues.
“Marijuana legalization is far more popular than Jeff Sessions or Donald Trump and will survive them both,” Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement.
Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, a cannabis advocacy group, told Business Insider in a statement that it would be “politically disastrous,” for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to initiate a crackdown on state-legal marijuana businesses.
“Despite threatening rhetoric from some Trump administration officials, Americans’ support for regulating marijuana like alcohol only continues to rise year over year,” Angell added.
If you are a chronic pain sufferer, are you using marijuana more than you used to because you believe opioids are going to be harder to find for chronic pain treatment?