A majority of Americans would be perfectly happy to vote for a politician that smokes weed, according to a new YouGov poll.
The polling agency conducted this new survey shortly after Gary Chambers, a Louisiana Democrat running for US Senate, smoked a blunt in a campaign video while discussing the damage that prohibition has wreaked on marginalized communities. To discover if Chambers’ message resonated with the public, YouGov asked 4,096 American voters if they would actually be willing to back a political candidate that openly smoked weed.
According to the poll, 58 percent of voters said they would absolutely be down to support a candidate that smoked pot in their free time. Only 21 percent said they would automatically oppose a pot-loving politician, and another 21 percent said they were unsure. As is common with cannabis-related polls, the survey showed that Democrats were more likely (68 percent) to be down with weed than Republicans (47 percent).
The current poll only asked about politicians in general, but YouGov conducted another survey to discover how voters felt about the president's cannabis policies. President Biden promised to decriminalize cannabis and expunge former pot convictions during his campaign, but has failed to take action while in office. Politicians, athletes, and musicians have begged Biden to make good on his promise by issuing pardons to former weed offenders, but he has ignored these appeals.
And even though both chambers of Congress are actively supporting bills that would end the federal prohibition of cannabis, Biden opposes these efforts. Instead, he offered a weak plan to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug – the same category as cocaine – which would do nothing to stop the mass incarceration of Americans for minor weed crimes. The Biden administration has also fired staffers who smoked weed in the past, advocated against allowing legal weed sales in Washington DC, and worked to block veterans' access to medical pot.
YouGov found that American voters don't believe that Biden will ever honor his promise to support weed reform. Out of 1,500 survey respondents, 56 percent agreed that the president has failed to make any progress toward decriminalizing weed. An even larger percentage (58 percent) said that they don't expect the president to take further steps to achieve this goal in 2022.
“President Biden was crystal clear on the campaign trail that his administration would prioritize criminal justice reform, and he explicitly highlighted his desire to expunge the records of those suffering from the stigma of a federal marijuana conviction,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri in a statement.
“Following through on this campaign promise would be an important first step in remedying the past wrongs associated with nearly a century of marijuana prohibition and healing the wounds of the many Americans who have needlessly suffered under this failed public policy,” Altieri added. “In 2022, it is readily apparent that the criminalization of cannabis, and the lifelong lost opportunities that come with a criminal marijuana conviction, causes far greater harm than the responsible use of cannabis itself.”
Several recent polls have found that 60 to 70 percent of American voters support federal legalization. And another new poll funded by anti-weed lobbyists Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) found that 86 percent of voters support cannabis reform to some degree, even though the group tried to spin the results to suggest otherwise.
As a whole, these surveys clearly indicate that most Americans would prefer to cast their votes for politicians who support weed reform. This is great news for Gary Chambers and other candidates who are running on pro-cannabis platforms, but it is also bad news for the president. If a Republican presidential candidate were to fully endorse cannabis reform in the next election, Biden's unpopular opposition to legalization could be a major factor that convinces Americans to cast their votes for someone else.