By Roland Sebestyén
A new poll shows record-high support for federal adult cannabis use in the United States for the second time in a row.
Support remained generally consistent across genders, races, ages, and classes, regardless of their level of education. However, there were disparities across the political spectrum, with 71% of Democrats reportedly in support of legalisation, compared with around half of Republicans (50% in favor; 49% opposed).
According to these figures, the number of people in favour of cannabis policy reform has doubled over the last 20 years. While even in 2001 only a third (34%) would support legalisation, it is now a hot topic; something that President Joe Biden can’t not address in the near future.
Mr Biden is not a fan of cannabis, to say the least. While he repeatedly stated on the 2020 campaign trail that he would decriminalise the drug across the country, he hasn’t gotten involved in the topic for the last 11 months. His first 11 months at the wheel, to be more precise.
Back in 2020, his spokesperson said: “Vice President Biden does not believe anyone should be in jail simply for smoking or possessing marijuana.
“He supports decriminalising cannabis and automatically expunging prior criminal records for cannabis possession, so those affected don’t have to figure out how to petition for it or pay for a lawyer.”
Well, the issue is still there. There are still higher racial disparities in cannabis-related arrests in the US than anywhere else in the world.
As a recent report concluded, in states that implemented some form of cannabis reform (namely, legalisation or decriminalisation) this disparity was seen to drop, whereas, in states with no cannabis policy reform, the gap between cannabis arrests of Black and White individuals was seen to grow.
In a country where 19 states and the capital have legalised cannabis – and where the vast majority of the citizens are reportedly in favour of cannabis – there is still a lot of unsolved problems.