A recently released Gallup poll revealed that 64 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized, including a majority of Republicans.
The nationwide shift in approval for ending the prohibition of marijuana reflects changing attitudes across all age demographics toward the once-demonized plant that is now legal, in some form, in most of the country.
A poll released yesterday by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), a nonpartisan organization that fights to ensure “veterans and their families are supported, protected, empowered and never forgotten,” paints a similar picture of cannabis reform support when compared to the recently published Gallup poll.
The majority of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans who responded to the poll agreed with the legalization of medical marijuana, with 63 percent saying they either support or strongly support ending the prohibition of cannabis for medical purposes. Only 15 percent of veterans oppose medical marijuana legalization while 22 percent didn’t have an opinion on the issue.
When it comes to recreational marijuana, however, support wasn’t quite as strong. This is a polarizing issue among Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, as 44 percent support legalization in some way while 30 percent oppose or strongly oppose recreational reform.
The demographics of the veterans surveyed plays a large part in the results, as the male-skewed respondents represent a slightly older and more conservative pool of participants than Gallup’s latest survey of American views on marijuana legalization.
While it is encouraging to see a majority of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans showing support for medical marijuana legalization, some of the other revelations in the poll are alarming.
Anxiety, depression, and PTSD are major issues for a significant number of war veterans, and even though cannabis can offer immense relief for patients suffering from these conditions, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) refuses to acknowledge it as an option; the 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans reported to have PTSD or depression are told by their VA doctors that prescription pharmaceuticals are their only path to relief.
The growing acceptance of cannabis as a therapeutic solution for veterans is promising, but drastic federal reform is still needed before cannabis can truly flourish as a medicine in this pharmaceutical battlefield.
Image courtesy of Allie Beckett