A recent Gallup poll suggests that 50 percent of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana.
This record-high number, up from 46 percent last year, has been increasing steadily since Gallup first started asking about the legalization of marijuana in 1969 when only 12 percent favored it, according to Gallup.
The poll was conducted by cellphone and landline interviews of a random sample from every state of 1,005 adults, age 18 and older, from Oct. 6 to Oct. 9, according to Gallup. The margin of error for the survey is 4 percent.
Nick Sgandurra, a fourth-year in criminology and sociology, said he thinks our economy will benefit from the legalization of marijuana.
“I’m for (the legalization of marijuana) because I feel like it would really cut down on a lot of black market sort of activities,” he said. “A lot of tax revenue could be generated from it. It may not be a popular thing but it may be a solution to a lot of tax problems.”
Marijuana is the third-most-popular recreational drug in the U.S. behind tobacco and alcohol, according to National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Forty-six percent of Americans think marijuana should remain illegal and they are made up mostly of people 65 and older, conservatives, Republicans, women and those living in the Southern U.S, according to the poll.
Liberals, people ages 18 to 29, moderates, independents and democrats were most likely to favor legalization, according to Gallup.
“I think society would suffer a little from a sort of backlash to (the legalization of marijuana). The moral objectors would probably speak out against it most strongly,” Sgandurra said. “As time goes on, and it’s more accepted, … people can only have so much energy yelling about something they might not care about.”
Ohio House Bill 478, sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Yuko (D), proposes the legalization of marijuana for medical use and was introduced on April 7, 2010, and assigned to the Health committee, according to Ohio’s legislature website.
Ohio Senate Bill 343, also supporting the legalization of medical marijuana was introduced on May 22, 2008, by Sen. Tom Roberts (D), is awaiting further action from the judiciary criminal justice committee, according to Ohio’s legislature website.
“I know it’s not going to get passed,” Yuko told The Lantern in April. “But we’ve got the state of Ohio talking about it, and it’s the right thing to do. The people of Ohio are aware of its potential and with the publicity and attention (the bill) is getting, hopefully someone will come along with some money to help out.”
There are currently 16 states and Washington, D.C. that have legalized marijuana for medical use. Ohio is one of six states with such legislation pending, according to ProCon.org.
Diana Sencherey, a second-year in health information management systems, thinks at a minimum, marijuana should be made legal for medical use to help patients.
“A lot of people need it, especially chemo patients and people with pain,” Sencherey said.
Not all OSU students are a part of the 50 percent who favor the legalization. Nicholas Krebs, a fourth-year in communication and political science, said he trusts lawmakers to make the right decision regarding marijuana for medical use but does not think marijuana should be made legal.
“It can lead to potential avenues of abuse just like how people abuse tobacco and alcohol,” Krebs said. “Why open the flood gates?”
Still, many students think it is more beneficial for the government and society to legalize marijuana and with 50 percent of Americans now favor legalization, lawmakers may concede to public pressure.
“Alcohol used to be illegal, now it’s legal,” Sencherey said. “If it’s controlled well and regulated, I don’t think it’s going to be all that negative, considering the way it is already.”