Americans say that marijuana should be less strictly regulated than it is now, while also favoring greater regulations on cryptocurrencies, social media, electric vehicles and coal, according to a new poll.
The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll surveyed voters about a wide range of national issues, including where they stand on federal regulations for eight consumer products. For each item, they were asked if they felt the federal government should regulate them more or less, or keep regulations at the current level.
A 45 percent plurality of respondents said that there should be fewer regulations for cannabis, while 22 percent said the rules should stay the same and 33 percent said there should be more regulations. Voters were more likely to say marijuana should be less regulated compared to any of the other items included in the survey.
The only thing that people were less likely to say should be more regulated than cannabis was gas stoves.
The poll, which involved interviews with 2,050 registered voters from January 18-19, speaks to a growing consensus that the status quo of prohibition is not working.
That perspective was also represented in another recent survey from Data for Progress that found a strong majority of American voters—including most Republicans, Democrats and independents—support legalizing marijuana at the federal level.
Just one in ten Americans say that marijuana should remain completely illegal, according to another poll from the Pew Research Center that was released in November.
In terms of regulating marijuana, as the latest survey inquired about, the federal government’s current role has been limited to criminal enforcement of prohibition, though lawmakers have put forward a number of proposals in recent years to either deschedule it and leave the issue to the states or establish a regulatory scheme for the plant.
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released its finalized guidance on developing cannabis-based drugs, outlining the process and unique considerations for scientists when it comes to hemp and marijuana. The agency separately said that it has no plans to allow CBD as a dietary supplement or food additive and instead wants to work with Congress on the issue.
There are some concerns among advocates that giving FDA too large a role in regulating marijuana could jeopardize state markets.
Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.