The number of adults admitting to marijuana use has nearly doubled since 2013 according to the latest Gallup poll. In 2013, only 7 percent admitted to using cannabis. As of this year, the number has increased to 13 percent. This means 1 in 8 people are admitting to current use. That’s 33 million U.S. residents admitting to using the herb. The survey was conducted by phone and 1,000 randomly chosen adults were interviewed.
A Change in Public Perception
National surveys show that 55% to 60% of Americans are in favor of legalization. Public education and the demolishing of incorrect information are definitely part of what seems to be creating the change. The positive results from states like Colorado and Washington, who have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, may also be helping to destigmatize it’s use.
Demonization of Marijuana Use Through the Years
After decades of false propaganda campaigns that painted marijuana use as something deviants and criminals did on their way to overdosing on heroin, the world is finally admitting that none of this is true. The herb has been in popular use for thousands of years and its recent period of demonization is more bizarre than could possibly be imagined. In 1929, during alcohol prohibition, Harry Anslinger was put in charge of the Department of Prohibition in Washington D.C. He had always claimed that marijuana was harmless, did not need to be banned and said that “there is no more absurd fallacy” that it could make anyone violent.
A Nationwide Ban Built on Lies
Once alcohol prohibition failed though, Anslinger found himself terrified that he would lose his job so he asked 30 scientists if marijuana could be dangerous. While 29 responded “no”, 1 scientist said “yes” and Anslinger made him the voice of marijuana prohibition. They cited a case where a boy called Victor Licata axe murdered his family. They blamed marijuana, saying that it turns people into wild beasts, that it is a demon weed, and that you will fall into a “delirious rage” followed by having erotic dreams before you “lose the power of connected thought” and reach the point of “insanity.” The media and the public imagination ran wild with crazed ideas about what the herb could do, based on the case of Licata. As it turns out, Licata’s crimes had no connection to marijuana at all. He didn’t smoke it and doctors found no connection to cannabis in his case. He had already been declared psychotic by doctors and the family had been repeatedly warned to institutionalize him for over a year and they refused.
The U.S. banned marijuana during this time and threatened the world into doing the same. When Mexico refused, they cut off the country’s supply to prescription medication so that Mexicans had to die in agony until they agreed to ban marijuana, an herb with which had no official problem. The insanity continued into the ‘80s when Ronald Reagan was calling marijuana “the most dangerous drug in the United States” and police officials were calling for cannabis users to be “taken and shot.”
The Dawning Truth About Cannabis
Now evidence shows that marijuana is safer and healthier than cigarettes and alcohol. This is something that was common knowledge to scientists and doctors before the brainwashing and interference from Anslinger. Alcohol kills 40,000 people a year and prescription drugs kill thousands. No one has ever died from marijuana. People drive safer under the influence of marijuana and legalization has had no impact on marijuana use in teens. Legalizing it has reduced crime and helped thousands of people to benefit from the herb’s medicinal properties.
The destigmatization of marijuana, coming from medical and statistical evidence, seems to be creating a steady increase of people admitting to using cannabis and an increase of those in favor of legalization. We are finally getting closer to putting an end to the insanity of marijuana prohibition.