As the gradual process of cannabis legalization inches forward, the way people view cannabis use progresses as well. These informed attitudes towards the plant medicine are reflected in the way we use technology. According to Google Trends, searches for cannabis has skyrocketed about 75 percent from 2004 to 2016.
Figures from Google analytics indicate that search interest is highest in the state of Colorado and that metro interest is the highest in the city of Eureka, California. Because recreational cannabis is legal in Colorado, these statistics could be an indicator that more Google users are interested in finding online information about various legal products. Whereas in the past, users trying to find anti-pot information might dominate web searches, these stats provide a good sign that the American public is waking up to the facts about cannabis. Popular opinion on weed is becoming more and more fact and evidence based, as people shed the misinformation that led to the demonization and destructive attitudes towards marijuana.
This Google report is yet another example of a paradigm shift in the way most people view cannabis and its users. A recent Lancet study of adults living in the U.S. found that cannabis use increased from 10.4 percent to 13.3 percent from 2002 to 2014. The study also states that there were positive increases in the way people perceive cannabis use; 16 percent of those surveyed said they saw no risk in occasionally smoking herb in 2014, compared to 6 percent in 2002. While that 10 percent jump might not seem all that significant, it is an important progression nonetheless.
On top of the facts and figures coming from Google and the Lancet, reading just about any comment section on news articles or Facebook posts regarding cannabis related arrests shows the majority of commenters are tired of seeing peaceful cannabis users arrested for possessing a plant. Support for legalization is at an all time high, online and offline.
It’s no secret that cannabis legalization in various forms is a huge hot-button issue this election year. Despite all of the progress we’ve made, millions of patients go without the medicine they need. With the national debt ever rising and states raking in millions of tax dollars from the sale of legal cannabis, many experts believe that legalizing cannabis could be the one thing that gets us out of debt, creating much-needed jobs for Americans in the process. Because of these points, cannabis legalization could be the most important issue facing Americans at the polls.