The Role Of Marijuana In American Culture

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If the most powerful man on the planet, the President of the United States, admitted to using marijuana, fifty years ago society would be calling for his head. However, times have changed in America. In a recent interview, President Barack Obama provided his thoughts on marijuana use. “I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life”. As shown by this example and a variety of other aspects of modern culture, views on marijuana have changed drastically. Over the past 5 decades, the culture and public opinion of marijuana has fluctuated, leading to its legalization, for recreational use, in Colorado and Washington in…show more content…
As of late, the marijuana debate has shifted in favor of legalization. Why has public opinion swayed so much in recent years? The success of the medicinal marijuana market, the heavy support for legalization by the younger generations, and the passing of the more conservative generations can contribute to some significant changes. However, sustained public opinion is very difficult to predict. Recent polls taken by the Pew Research Center and General Social Surveys show that the main reason for support of marijuana is that the American public fails to see marijuana has a major moral issue (Galston, Dionne 1). Compared to gay marriage or abortion, many more Americans are indifferent when it comes to others using marijuana. Those against legalization who consider marijuana to be a gateway drug and a vice argue that legalization will lead an overall increase in consumption of the drug. They argue that legalization will decrease productivity in the workplace, influence children negatively, and increase drug induced automobile crashes. However, the pro-legalization Americans respond in saying increased marijuana use has no lasting health effects, legalization will allow for better regulation of distribution, and marijuana legalization will reduce alcohol consumption in America. There is no empirical data to support that marijuana use will increase when legalized or that we will see an increase in automobile crashes. Those who are not necessarily marijuana users but support legalization argue that the financial benefits of legalization outweigh the negative implications that come with

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