Finally, Something Democrats and Republicans Agree on: Legal Marijuana

Finally, Something Democrats and Republicans Agree on: Legal Marijuana
Danielle Lirette
Two new studies on marijuana consumption and acceptance show changing landscapes in public support of states' rights and a stark admission on workplace use.

One recent study was commissioned by Marijuana Majority, an organization that works to spotlight marijuana as a growing mainstream issue. The survey questioned 1,500 participants about their ideas on marijuana consumer rights, finding 76 percent of participants across the political spectrum (Democrat, Republican and anything in between) believed the federal government should let states implement their own laws regarding marijuana.

The study then dove into questions regarding consumer rights, showing that more people supported than opposed the use of marijuana by athletes (46 to 38 percent), journalists (50 to 35 percent) and even gun owners (48 to 37 percent).

Earlier this week, California-based medical marijuana delivery company Eaze also released a comprehensive study, covering 10,000 users among growing classes of consumers like women, parents and working professionals. It serves as an interesting complement to the Marijuana Majority's findings.

For instance, in the Marijuana Majority's survey, women consistently supported cannabis use less than men. However, Eaze's study found that 59 percent of the women it surveyed used cannabis daily – and it says that women were one of the fastest-growing user groups surveyed.

Another exciting find in Eaze's study showed women, parents and working professionals who used prescribed opiates reported a 95 percent decrease in use as a direct result of consuming marijuana. Still, despite those numbers and the support for athletes using cannabis cited by the Marijuana Majority, professional contact sports leagues like the NFL, NHL and UFC continue to suspend their players for marijuana use.

Some of the Eaze study's most surprising findings pertain to the use by working professionals: 58 percent of working professionals reported consuming cannabis daily, and 31 percent actually claimed to use cannabis while on the job. These participants weren't necessarily red-eyed burger flippers, either, as 91 percent of consumers using on the job worked full-time while 49 percent had incomes of $75,000 or more.
click to enlarge Of consumers who use marijuana on the job, food and beverage and technology workers topped the list. - EAZE
Of consumers who use marijuana on the job, food and beverage and technology workers topped the list.

Tom Angell, founder and chairman of Marijuana Majority, thinks there is still more work to be done. Although 75 percent of those surveyed in his group's study voiced support for states implementing their own laws, he notes those laws can vary widely from state to state.

"There are so many models of legalization: non-commercial, non-retail, only personal use, etc. We are all inventing legalization as we go," he said in a statement.

Angell believes this finding and the evidence of greater support than opposition for consumer rights shows progress, but he still points to what he calls "consumer discrimination."

"You can still lose your job, public benefits and housing," he said, emphasizing that many states still punish parental rights for marijuana use. That would mean around 2,000 of Eaze's participants would see the custody of their children affected, as one in five of the cannabis consumers surveyed were parents.
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Gabe Fine is a fifth-generation Colorado native and a student at Colorado College. He’s written about everything from the environment to housing justice to the postal service as an editorial intern for Westword.
Contact: Gabe Fine