A Quinnipiac University poll taken in March released Monday. It found that more than 80 percent of adults in key swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida supported legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Likewise, a majority in all three states also supported legalizing small amounts for recreational use.
When compared to the likely 2016 presidential candidates, a peculiar picture emerges. The Washington Post turned the data into the following graphs:
Marijuana was once at the heart of America's culture war, but it seems to have turned the corner in the U.S.' most politically contentious states. The drug is still classified by the federal government as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning:
- The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
- The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
- There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
When Barack Obama took office in 2008, recreational marijuana was not legal in any of the 50 states. At the end of his second term in January 2017, it will be legal in at least 4 states -- Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon -- along with the District of Columbia, and is expected to make gains in other states during the 2016 elections.
Americans' support for legalizing marijuana has climbed dramatically in recent years and it is sure to take the stage at some point during the 2016 presidential campaign. Yet, neither major political party -- Republican nor Democrat -- has aggressively pursued the topic one way or the other.
Only time will tell which of the 2016 presidential candidates will tap in to the growing sentiment among voters and perhaps it may be the defining domestic policy issue of the upcoming race.
Image Source: Daily Chronic