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How Big Is The Marijuana Voting Bloc?

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vote for marijuanaThe Marijuana Voting Bloc

Everyday I read and hear marijuana activists stating the importance of the marijuana voting bloc in this election. It got me wondering, how big is the marijuana voting bloc? Can the marijuana voting bloc even be measured? I Googled the question, and the overwhelming return dealt with 2012 presidential candidate Gary Johnson. Gary Johnson told Outside Magazine, “A hundred million Americans have smoked marijuana. You think they want to be considered criminals?” Johnson said. I would agree with the statistic that roughly 100 million Americans have consumed marijuana at least once in their life, but does that make them all part of a marijuana voting bloc?

According to the US Government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive, 95,916,972 Americans have consumed marijuana at least once in their lives. How they have such an approximate number kinda boggles my mind, but it sounds realistic. However, the number of people that actually smoke marijuana more than once in their life is less than people that do it more frequently. Below is a table of marijuana use in the United States from 1990-2005:

cannabis use by year

As you can see, the number of people that smoke marijuana once in a year fluctuates almost 8 million people a year sometimes. I don’t think that the marijuana voting bloc is not as large as the number that Gary Johnson said, but I think it’s obviously more than the lowest number of marijuana consumers in any given year in America. As the graph shows, there are more and more people consuming marijuana towards the end of the data, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that number is likely gone up since the last year of data.

What do readers think? How big is the marijuana voting bloc? The voting marijuana voting bloc would include consumers, as well as non-consumers that are sympathetic to the cause and/or are tired of pursuing a colossal public policy failure. Another important factor to include when trying to quantify a marijuana voting bloc is that there’s the requirement of being an actual voter to be considered a part of the marijuana voting bloc. Most of the marijuana consumers that I know never vote. Politics is not ‘their thing’ which is ironic because these are often the same people that complain about marijuana not being legal.

If every person that consumed marijuana once in their life and people that have never consumed marijuana but believe in logical government policies got together and provided their signatures for an initiative in every state that has such a system, marijuana reform would dominate the ballot every election. If the same people got together and called their representatives and senators, initiatives wouldn’t even be needed because every state in the country would have marijuana legalization bills in the legislature, and due to overwhelming pressure, the bills would pass easily.

However, that’s not the case because for one reason or another many marijuana consumers and sympathizers just sit on the fence and talk the talk, instead of walking the walk. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is. How do we fix that? How do we make a really strong marijuana voting bloc, with more people than politicians could ever imagine, and that all vote every time they get the chance? Or even better, how do we get marijuana activists to run for elections themselves?

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  • Dwayne Casey

     Marijuana legalization is more than an issue about marijuana itself being legal. It is more about personal freedom in general and the reduction of government intervention in our lives.    These freedoms should extends to other facets of our lives that dont need constant legislation and government oversight.

  • Darylpillsbury

    Some good points made here.
    Marijauna Resolve is working in Vermont.
    We think the voting bloc is about 10-15 percent.
    All supporters are not users,the numbers are growing.

  • Krymsun

    For more effective impact, instead of only ‘preaching to the choir’, why not also share these pages of opinions with your congress-critters, both Senators and Representatives? If everyone who reads this and similar would find more articles, both pro and con, and email them and especially the comments to the legislative branch of the federal government (the only ones who can change the law), it’d have more chance of achieving the desired result.

  • It was 29 million in 2010 and 28.5 million in 2009 according to the NSDUH.  http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k10ResultsTables/Web/HTML/Sect1peTabs1to46.htm#Tab1.24A

    There are plenty of people who do not smoke pot who are to some extent part of the “marijuana voting block,” people who think that marijuana should be legal and would support it at the polls. I’m in that category.  According to the NSDUH, only slightly more than 11% of Americans 18 or older report past year use of marijuana, yet the polls are showing that around 50% want marijuana to be legal.  Support is kind of weak though, with many of those who support legalization being people who only “somewhat agree” that it should be legal who in many cases could easily be dissuaded from voting for a ballot initiative with scare tactics designed to make people feel like a proposed law is not restrictive enough.

    Young voters are the ones most likely to support legalization. That so few show up at the polls is a damned shame.  Voting isn’t your thing? Do you realize that if you don’t vote the government won’t take you seriously?  It’s the same thing with say, Hispanics. Voter turnout among Hispanics has been low and so government does not seem to be standing up for their interests, giving them what they want.  The Hispanic population is growing by leaps and bounds though and if more will vote, then government will cater to their wishes more.  Young people, if you want the governemnt to do what you want, then vote.  It doesn’t even matter that much who you vote for.  What matters is that a high percentage of young people vote, so that the politicians will be afraid of you and will want to cater to you to get your votes, just like they do with senior citizens because senior citizens tend to have very high voter turnout. Pot smokers, do you want the governement to cater to you? Get off your butts and go register to vote, now, and then get to the polls in November.  Bring your friends too.  Make a party out of it.  Do what you have to do, but make sure you get as many people to the polls as you can.  Do it in 2014 too, the mid term elections, and then you’ll really get their attention.

  • eating_sunshine

    Darker, you’re such an ass. 

    But, anyway, I’m not even in the government stats, I don’t use cannabis, but i’m a huge supporter of legalizing marijuana, and my best friends are stoners.  They call me an honorary stoner, the designated driver, the look out, and the pee-er.

  • DarkerMatter

    Since when has the United States government been honest about cannabis?

    Next up, citing Harry J. Anslinger on the dangers of marihuana. 

  • Mikey K.

    Recently I started publicly advocating for reform. I realized that sitting around talking about it with friends isnt going to do anything so I started using my own facebook page to present the facts ( to people of all ages and beliefs ) and today I started a page for the South Dakota chapter of NORML (Any SD resident reading this please join us at http://www.facebook.com/SoDakNORML. It is a small step, but I believe that the issues need to be talked with to people who oppose or just dont care. Also, the things I post I make sure are credible so that pro legalizationers may use it as ammunition to fight this prohibition. Facts dont lie. Anyone who smokes weed should be vocal about the damages this prohibition has caused. There is too much sitting around and not enough action. If your congressmen are being overwhealmed with letters regaarding cannabis they will be more inclined to take a good look at the issue. Write your representatives, inform the public, and be proud of who you are.