While the cannabis debate still has its fair share of supporters and detractors, its legalization has been linked to positive public health outcomes.
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Nearly half of the United States has legitimized the use of cannabis— also widely known as weed or marijuana—at a state level. The plant, however, is still federally illegal. The discourse around the topic has remained mainstream since Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational use in 2012.
According to Pew Research, “Public opinion about legalizing marijuana, while little changed in the past few years, has undergone a dramatic long-term shift. A new survey finds that 53% favor the legal use of marijuana, while 44% are opposed. As recently as 2006, just 32% supported marijuana legalization, while nearly twice as many (60%) were opposed.”
Economists publish evidence on the societal implications of marijuana legalization. The findings of the research include lowered rates of suicide, binge drinking, and traffic fatalities. Ironically, rates of cannabis use in teenagers also show a decline.
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Though statistics show that more Americans are championing the cause each year, the future of its political support is unknown.
Cannabis Business Times reports that although the November 2022 election proves the nation’s growing support (with state legalization measures going 2-for-5), it’s hard to say how political momentum may shape reform efforts in 2023.
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