I often have to remind myself that most people don’t read dozens of articles and studies relating to cannabis on a weekly basis, not to mention watch multiple videos every day. The things I know about marijuana may not be common knowledge to most, simply because they can’t put in the time that I do on a specific subject/issue.
And sometimes I’m surprised when something that would be considered common knowledge in the cannabis community hasn’t made it very far into the “mainstream” of society.
For example, one of the first things you’ll learn about cannabis policy if you start researching it is that cannabis is considered a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. This means the federal government has deemed that cannabis has a high potential for abuse and no medical value. Other substances that fall under Schedule I include heroin, LSD and MDMA.
In a recent survey of almost 1,000 people, only 37% correctly identified the Schedule that cannabis is listed under. When the numbers are broken down by generation, only 41% of millennials knew of cannabis’ scheduling.
So while most people will say they want to see marijuana legalized, many are unaware of just how ridiculous the federal government’s stance on cannabis is. To say that marijuana has no medicinal value is to move outside the realm of reality. In fact, in the same survey, 84% of respondents said they believe marijuana has medical value, beating out prescription staples like Robitussin AC, Valium and Xanax.
It would be easy to say that we need to do more to educate the general public about cannabis, but what else could we really be doing? How much more vocal and organized could we be? To be sure, there is room for improvement in anything, but the cannabis community dominates the most useful information sharing tool ever devised – the Internet – more decisively than just about any other group.
I think this poll also shows just how much information is out there. Unless someone is interested in a subject, they are not going to take too much time to learn about it; there’s just too much to learn about the things that do interest them. So the question becomes, how do we get more people interested in learning about cannabis?
I think the key is to continue doing what we are doing. The sheer amount of information that is shared about cannabis on a daily basis is producing real results, regardless of how much people know about specific policy issues. What most people know is that cannabis users aren’t bothering them and there is no reason for their activities to be illegal.