The idea that prohibition has failed is finally starting to catch on for many who have been fighting legalization since the beginning. For the first time in U.S. history, the Republican party is in favor of legalizing marijuana, according to a poll by YouGov – which shows that 45% of Republicans favor legalizing, and 42% are still opposed. While it is a very small margin, it is still one that has room and time to grow.
Considering there are now four states with a legal cannabis industry that operates on an adult use basis, not just medical, it should not be surprising to see the shift – but that doesn’t mean it is not to be welcomed after years of fighting legalization (even if their party does not wish to take a platform plank on the issue this year, when Democrats have finally chosen to do so). It may even feel like we’re all on the same page for once – but it’s not quite that simple.
While the attitude towards prohibition may have changed, and the realization that it was costing more than it was worth to incarcerate people over the cannabis plant – the attitude towards the plant and its use have not changed very much. This is shown through other poll questions that were asked by YouGov, of the same voters who gave us this excellent news.
“The most interesting thing about this is, literally, the Republican attitude towards marijuana itself hasn’t actually changed much,” Moore told Leafly. “The only thing that’s changed is the attitude towards prohibition.”
Other questions that were asked of the voters included whether or not they believed that marijuana was a gateway drug to harder drugs. This theory has been debunked many times over, however it continues to remain an argument bought up by politicians and others who wish to continue to demonize the plant. The poll showed that 43% believe that it is a gateway drug and 40% do not – which is only down a couple percentage points from 2014.
With those numbers virtually unchanged, it shows that the Republican party has a different reason for supporting legalization – and it’s appears to be bringing an end to needless incarceration. Even if we can’t convince them all that cannabis is safe, even if we can’t change their minds on old stereotypes and myths – at least we can all agree that the war on drugs and the prohibition of cannabis has proven to be a failed attempt.