Like a pendulum, American politics swing in favor of Democrats to Republicans and back again as any democracy is bound to do. Throughout the last few years, the tensions between the two parties have blown far beyond friendly competition and diplomacy, and instead feels like we’re one shaky step away from an all-out civil war. Isn’t there anything we can agree on anymore?
Apparently, of all things, legalizing marijuana seems to have found some common ground between the two parties.
Democrats and Republicans
The symbolized donkeys and elephants used to have at least some common ground. Back in 2012, the majority of both parties — 85 percent Republicans and 66 percent Democrats — agreed the United States was the greatest nation.
But now the numbers have changed, with 80 percent of Republicans still holding their beliefs whereas only 35 percent of Democrats still agree. Dems have actually done a complete turnaround with 64 percent thinking America isn’t better than any other country.
Based on that change alone, it’s reasonable to assume it's not the only disagreement anymore. Both parties are racking up reasons to argue. Climate change, racial inequalities, and the coronavirus are all near the top of the list of quarrels and any number of other issues could soon erupt into revolutions strong enough to create lasting changes to the systems currently in place.
Before we fly into a panic, it turns out there’s one thing both parties can agree on — weed should be legal on a federal level.
Granted, there’s still a bit of a debate between whether or not marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes only or include recreational use as well. Even still the majority rule — 59 percent — in favor of legalizing for both.
Generations Also Agree on Weed
Beyond politics, and any other divide, there’s one thing it seems we can all agree on — weed should be legal. The Pew Research Center published statistics showing Two-thirds of Americans support marijuana legalization. Not, two-thirds of democrats or republicans — two-thirds of Americans!
If you were to ask a Millennial, their political affiliation is almost a moot point about weed. According to the Pew Research Center, Millennial-aged Republications — at 71 percent — are almost equal in supporting legalization as their Democrat rival s— 78 percent. Though Millennials aren’t the only generation to agree on it.
Other generations can pretty much all agree, too. The majority of Millennials, Gen X, and even Boomers are all in favor of legalizing weed. The only exception is the silent generation — those born between 1928 and 1945 — who still have a 64 percent disapproval of legalizing marijuana.
Despite majority approval, and that medicinal marijuana is already legal in thirty-three states — eleven of which legalized medical and recreational marijuana — marijuana is still technically illegal federally. Fingers crossed it changes in the upcoming election.
The Perks of Legalizing Weed
Given the state of America’s soon to be economic collapse, it makes sense to legalize marijuana on a federal level. A study by New Frontier Data lays out the solution plainly. Legalizing weed in the United States could create an estimated 1.6 million new jobs and $128.8 billion in tax revenue. Both of which we’re in dire need of.
Any reservation about these numbers can be backed up by what’s currently happening in states that have already legalized cannabis. In my home sweet home of Oregon, marijuana consumers purchased $89 million in January 2020, just at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. In April, when the stay at home order was issued, Illinois raked in $37 million in cannabis sales for the state.
That’s over a billion dollars for two states in one month of sales. Imagine how fast our economy could bounce back from the downfall that came with COVID and everything else in 2020. America needs the tax revenue and people need jobs, legalizing marijuana on a federal level will provide both.
We can divide ourselves into hundreds of groups if we want to. We already do, beyond politics, we separate ourselves by ethnicity, gender, even by our zodiac sign. I wonder what the world would look like if we focused on, and celebrated, what we have in common.
We haven’t been this polarized in most of our lifetime, but thankfully, somehow, we can mostly agree weed is pretty great. So let’s smoke a joint together and think about what else we might be able to agree on.
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