In general, Americans want the federal government to step up its oversight of social media, energy, crypto, and many other major industries. But when it comes to weed, voters want the feds to back off.
These findings come from a recent Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll that asked 2,050 registered voters to share their views about a variety of national issues. Among other topics, the poll asked respondents whether or not the federal government was doing a good job at regulating a variety of products and services. Pollsters asked voters whether they thought the feds should increase or decrease regulations on eight different industries, or keep them the same.
In most cases, Americans spoke up in favor of tighter regulations. A solid 57% of voters said that regulators should increase their oversight of cryptocurrency, while only 22% said crypto regulations should be relaxed. Voters also called out for greater regulations on the internet, with 55% in favor of tightening rules governing online privacy and security and 49% supporting stricter regulations on social media.
A plurality of voters also support increasing regulations on energy. Around 44% of voters said they want more regulation on nuclear energy, compared to 26% who want to relax regulation and 30% who think the current rules are fine. Similarly, 38% favor more regulation for electric vehicles, versus 30% in favor of less and 32% supporting the status quo. Support for coal was equally balanced, with 36% of respondents each calling for tightening or relaxing restrictions, and 28% saying they should stay the same.
Out of all the topics covered in the poll, Americans only wanted to see the feds back down in two areas: gas stoves and weed. Only a third of respondents said that the country needs to increase legal weed regulations, and only 22% said that the current regulations were just fine. But 45% of voters said that the feds need to back down on cannabis regulation, a higher percentage than any of the other seven categories.
The poll backs up dozens of other recent surveys indicating powerful majority support for cannabis reform. Over the past few years, multiple polls have found that overall support for federal pot legalization is hovering at around 65 to 70%. But another recent poll that was sponsored by anti-cannabis activists actually found that support had climbed to 85%. Other multi-topic polls also report that Americans are more likely to endorse legal weed than they are to favor free college tuition or a federal minimum wage.
At present, most federal cannabis regulations focus on prohibiting people from growing, selling, or smoking weed. Most Americans clearly want lawmakers to scrap these draconian rules, but some cannabis advocates actually think the feds actually need to step up their regulatory game. In particular, advocates are calling for regulations on CBD, delta-8 THC, and other hemp-derived cannabinoids. These products have been federally legal since 2019, but the FDA has yet to establish guidelines to ensure that these products are tested for potency, quality, and safety.