How Americans think about weed is changing. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 75 percent of Americans believe selling and using marijuana will eventually be legalized. Of the people surveyed, both the majority of people for and against legalized weed agree that it is coming.
The decriminalization effort has been controversial since the beginning of the year when Colorado sold the first legal marijuana in the state to a war veteran with PTSD. Currently 17 states have laws decriminalizing the sale and use of marijuana, or laws that lessen restrictions for institutions like hospitals. Washington, DC was the most recent place to become significantly more lenient with marijuana punishments, lowering the penalty for possession to a $25 fine, down from a $1,000 fine or a six-month prison sentence.
Whether they agree or not, most Americans think legalization is going to happen
The number of people surveyed was small, though — only 1,821 adults — but it does show a dramatic shift in Americans' thinking of marijuana. Of the 75 percent that believe weed will inevitably be legal, 69 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats believe that those who are found possessing small amounts of marijuana shouldn't be jailed. The survey also found that people see weed as less of a threat to personal health and society at large than other substances, such as alcohol. The marijuana debate seems to be contributing to Americans' beliefs about other drug laws, with 67 percent of Americans favoring treatment for drug users rather than just prosecution.