Cannabis Liberation and Public Opinion: Closing The Gender Gap

The outreach efforts of the NORML Women’s Alliance are pivotal to NORML’s overall goal of cannabis liberation.
NORML’s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition. Similarly, one of the intended goals of the NWA is to sufficiently move public opinion forward among women. Because without increased public support among women, we will arguably never bring about an end to this failed, destructive war of cannabis consumers.

There exists a startling gender gap between men and women when it comes to the issue of marijuana legalization. And even though over the past decade the work of NORML and likeminded organizations have effectively shifted public opinion overall in favor of rational marijuana policies – from just 36 percent public support in 2005 to 50 percent public support today – the gap between men and women’s support for legalization remains nearly the same now as it was then.
Here’s some statistics:
According to a 2005 nationwide Gallup poll, 41 percent of men said they favored cannabis legalization versus 32 percent of women, a gap of 9 percent;
According to a 2007 Zogby poll commissioned by NORML that asked, ‘Do you support amending federal law to remove criminal penalties for the use of marijuana by adults,’ 57 percent of men supported such a measure versus 41 percent of women, a difference of 16 percent;
According to a 2010 Gallup poll, 51 percent of men favored legalizing cannabis versus 41 percent of women, a gap of 10 percent;
A finally, the most recent Gallup survey from 2011 found that 55 percent of men favored legalization, but only 46 percent of women did so, a difference of 9 percent.
Are we making progress in shifting public opinion overall? Yes. But there continues to exist a significant and troubling gender gap that limits our efforts to bring about majority support for responsible cannabis liberation. The NWA seeks to close this gap by reaching out, engaging with, educating, and addressing the unique concerns of women. You can learn more about the NORML Women’s Alliance and their work here.

15 thoughts

  1. Its obvious why and not really surprising in the least. women raise the children and they still associate marijuana with other drugs. Women will think of their children when making decisions like this where as men, for the most part, would just give their opinion with little thought of anything else.

  2. Yes I agree with Steve. Women are concerned with their children and are going to be answering with that in mind. Also, more women today are too busy taking care of shiftless stoner boyfriends as gender roles have blurred and more and more women are being the main breadwinners while more and more men are maturing older and are comfortable with having a woman take care of them, so that could also play a reason.

  3. This baffles me after all the hype I read on this site and others about “the way to legalization is through women”, and “women are pro legalization” and “blah blah bla.

  4. Oh please. You want to draw more non pot smoking women into the legalization camp? (Assumption – the pot smoking ones are already there.) Then your PR materials and industry ads need to have more content along the lines of a group of friends eating brownies while watching lifetime movies or enjoying a nice spring day in the park and way, way less half naked biker sluts contorting with giant green dong shaped buds. That kind of thing may appeal to the testosterone fueled but it’s a huge misogynistic turnoff to most people with a pair of x chromosomes.
    [Paul Armentano responds: The NWA acknowledges how off-putting this kind of marketing is. The NWA is on record opposing this type of marketing.
    “The NORML Women’s Alliance strongly opposes the sexual exploitation and objectification of women in pot-culture and business marketing.”]

  5. If I were a women thinking of my children, I’d vote for legalization. Lets face it kids do things behind your back.Some kids will get caught with cannabis. Even if it were legalized (which would make it harder for kids to get) Who’d you rather punish your children, the government, or the family?

  6. @Steve – agree with you. I have an ongoing dialogue with a close childhood friend, and she opposes legalization out of fear that her child will be harmed. She and her family were also recent victims of a burglary spree where an active addict plundered several homes in the neighborhood to support his habit. She’s intelligent, thoughtful and caring. While she’s not yet come around to supporting legalization, I am happy to report that, because of our dialogue, she wrote the judge prior to sentencing and advocated treatment for this person. She wouldn’t have done so not too long ago. So I am certain that thoughtful conversation with women will work. It’s a matter of framing, carefully thought out questions, and a meaningful discussion of the impact prohibition has had on all people, especially children, people of color and the poor. I’m certain that appealing to compassion, improving the safety of children and those with a lesser voice in society, and things of the sort will help immensely.

  7. For the last few decades…
    women have been the main target of the drug war propoganda machine They have been sold a mythology of a perfect’ drug free world'(for the children) that will exist after generations of weeding out the undesirables and mutating the ideal human that obeys their masters. Posing the question:What about the children? has been a great device that has been effective for their purposes.
    But, what about the children?
    the child that has no home because big brother seized their family property.
    the child that is put in protective childhood custody because mommy tested THC positive.
    the child that is suffering from malnutrition because daddy lost his job because of a positive urine test
    the child that has to live with grandparent’s or (or far worse) a foster home because mommy or daddy are serving time in prison.
    The sad reality is that this Cannabis “Drug War” has far more to do with
    profits- overhead(the prison-industrial- complex) and monopoly of resources (the cannabis plant) that feed this “Infrastructure”, than it has to do with morality- ethics or health concerns.Health concerns,if they do exist,) should be treated by a doctor not a policeman …So the next time a legislative proposal or a cannabis friendly politician needs to be voted in…JUST SAY YES .:)

  8. How is it that these concerns were not addressed about cigarettes and alcohol? why (with all the facts) on cigs and alcohol is cannabis being singled out? don’t be afraid now, it makes no sense.

  9. Whatever percentage of women out there who are not telling the truth…do so because of FEAR of loosing their jobs or their reputation!

  10. who are they asking, women that watch lifetime?!
    its like watching an episode of family feud; unrealistic answers.
    i will say i am a woman and stand behind legalization 100% !!

  11. You are stupid, marijuana has more negative effets then positive. Think of general health. Most of America is obese and we dont want to make it worse. God your all idiots.

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