Politics of Cannabis Legalisation

In less than 10 years, the public’s opinion has really shifted in favor of Cannabis Legalisation. The temptation is to conclude that the trend in favor of marijuana legalization is similar to the flow of opinion in favor of same-sex marriage, but not all hot-topic social issues are created equal. The new politics of cannabis legalization show that opinion is changing, but is there a durable majority for legalization?

The majority of cannabis support does not come from a moral conviction but rather a belief that cannabis is not a moral issue at all. But how much of this change in favor of cannabis is durable? This will depend on whether cannabis opinions follow the same attitudes on:

Gay Marriage

The support for this topic shows generational differences that are so stark and support among the young so strong that a long term majority for legalization seems inevitable?



Young adults are not significantly more pro-choice than their parents and generational trends indicate a continual division?

Data collected from studies show the following:

There is a considerable difference in the issue.

32% say that cannabis use for recreational purposes is morally wrong. 12% say cannabis use is morally acceptable and then compare these two to 50% that say the topic is not a moral issue at all. 72% say that government’s efforts to enforce cannabis laws cost more than they are worth, but 51% say that they would feel uncomfortable in the presence of cannabis usage.

A significant minority favor legalization, this is because they doubt the ability of the law to enforce the prohibition against it. And because many also feel that the cost of law enforcement of cannabis and the cost to imprison someone are unnecessary for such a crime.

A big gap and an important one.

Age is one of the most important variables determining attitude towards legalization:

Support for legalization among Americans aged:

18-29:                          30-49:                          50-64:                          65+:

64%                              55%                              53%                              33%

There is also a big difference in the support between men and woman:

Cannabis LegalisationCannabis LegalisationCannabis Legalisation

 Cannabis Legalisation and its political future:

Pioneers of cannabis legalization have to overcome a basic attitude that cannabis use itself is not seen as a positive good. This might seem obvious, but it is a central aspect of the structure of public opinion on the topic.

Those that support legalization do so for a variety of reasons:

  • Law enforcement of cannabis laws is a waste of public resources.
  • Taxing legalized cannabis might provide a new source of public revenue.
  • Enforcing the current laws is simply unfair.

The wide array of different views towards legalization. Shaped by whether the various experiments with legalization, decriminalization and medical cannabis are deemed successes or failures. This will then determine whether the strong support for legalization among younger generations will carry on and create a new majority.

Let us know your thoughts and views on Cannabis Legalisation. To read more on the legalization of cannabis in South Africa see this article.

~ Written By MJ and 420 Store Team, January 2019Cannabis Legalisation

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