The Cannabis-Tobacco Worm Turns

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Photo: Vladimir A Veljanovski / Shutterstock

WASHINGTON – More Americans now support cannabis legalization than tobacco legality, according to two recent polls. That’s quite a turnaround for both tobacco, which used to be legal everywhere, and cannabis, which was legal nowhere until relatively recently.

In a research brief it released in February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed 57.3 percent of American adults support prohibiting the sale of all tobacco products. The percentages varied little among demographic groups, with the exception of gender: 52.2 percent of male respondents supported banning tobacco products, while 62.2 percent of women supported a ban. No difference in support existed between annual household income groups.


In addition, “Although support … was lower among people who reported current tobacco product use compared with those who did not, … more than one-quarter of [tobacco users] supported prohibiting all tobacco product sales,” the report noted.

A report from the Pew Research Center found support for recreational cannabis at an all-time high among Americans: 59 percent. Another 30 percent support medical use only. Just one in ten Americans believes cannabis should be illegal, Pew researchers reported.

Pew found significant disparities in support among demographic groups. For example, “among those ages seventy-five and older, just three in ten say marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use,” the report notes. “Larger shares in every other age group—including 53 percent of those ages sixty-five to seventy-four—say the drug should be legal for both medical and recreational use.”

Additionally, Republicans are more wary than Democrats about adult-use legalization (45 percent and 73 percent in favor, respectively), and Black and White adults (68 percent each) favor adult use more than Hispanic (49 percent) and Asian (48 percent) adults.

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