Poll: Younger Voters Say Marijuana Is Less Destructive Than Alcohol

Younger voters overwhelmingly agree that marijuana is less damaging than alcohol, according to the findings of a Rare.us/Gravis Marketing poll released yesterday.

Among those voters age 18 to 40, 47 percent ranked alcohol as the most harmful substance to society, well ahead of both tobacco (27 percent) and cannabis (13 percent). (Thirteen percent of respondents were undecided.) Respondents among all age and ethnic groups were consistent in ranking marijuana as the least harmful of the three substances, as were self-identified Democrats and Independents. (Republicans rated tobacco to be the most harmful of the three products.)

“[These] numbers suggest younger Americans are upending societal conventions, which have long seen alcohol as an acceptable drug while condemning marijuana,” stated Rare.us in an accompanying press release.

The results are somewhat similar to those of a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released in March which reported that most Americans believe tobacco to be most harmful to health (49 percent), followed by alcohol (24 percent), sugar (15 percent), and marijuana (8 percent).

Under federal law, marijuana is classified as a schedule I controlled substance, meaning that its alleged harms are equal to those of heroin. Both tobacco and alcohol are unscheduled under federal law.

According to a study published in 2004 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the leading causes of death in the United States ware tobacco (435,000 deaths; 18.1 percent of total US deaths), poor diet and physical inactivity (365,000 deaths; 15.2 percent), and alcohol consumption (85,000 deaths; 3.5 percent).

24 thoughts

  1. Dangerous drug is now cannabis food & medicine with healing results of success. Cannabis is a plant for food, to eat not smoke. Marijuana for Christmas trees, yes,yes,yes, please, please, pleas. Genesis 1 : 29. Amen.

  2. While our population continues to grow every more intelligent and educated on this subject, those who could possibly change the idiotic federal law continue to hide their heads in the sand on this issue.

    It’s almost unbelievable that a small handful of fools can continue enforcing this stupidity on us Americans…

    It is absolutely of no surprise to me that Americans are very distrustful of our Govt and their militarized police force!

  3. After decades of demonizing, fear-mongering, and lies with billions of dollars wasted?

    I guess honesty really is the best policy.

  4. Alcohol, tobbaco, and caffeine are all far more dangerous than marijuana. They are all more physically addictive and harmful than pot. However, you can go to Walmart and buy an inlimited quantity of each. A ten year old can even buy coffee beans without showing ID! But if a legal adult is caught with marijuana, they go to jail. Of course the cop that arrested him, the prosecutor that sought to incarcinate him, and the judge that locked him up probably get drunk off alcohol on a regular basis.

  5. Cannabis is the least harmful drug on Earth! It’s literally impossible to reach its lethal dose of half your body weight in 2 hours. That’s smoking 150 lbs for some of nugs! Everyone over ten takes some drug. Even if it’s caffeine or sugar! Man people are going to smoke pot whether its legal or not. We want safe access at a fair price. Marijuana has thousands of medical uses and industrial, recreational, spiritual and other uses including creating jobs and billions in tax dollars. Now that all my “connects” have cut me out, I know, a day without feeling good or smoking weed is a day wasted. I sincerely hope that Tom Wolfe gets elected in Pa and people get out and vote so life just gets better. God invented herb and it wasn’t to trap us. Wasn’t.

  6. Amazing what a cell phone with decent broadband can do to both tell the truth and provide some decent, legally acquired marijuana.

  7. Tony Coder is one stupid piece of… You know what! I can only hope that the average intelligence of the people of Indiana are vastly superior to his or that state is in big trouble in the coming years. I’m pretty sure that people like Tony are going to be old and bitter sooner than they realize!

  8. Nothing could motivate young voters more than seeing pro marijuana legislation on the ballot. Here in Texas, last Friday, Wendy Davis ripped Attorney General Greg Abbott up in the debates for our next Governor. The drug war was a central theme. (YouTube “Wendy Abbott debate”). Wendy pressed a theme of approaching a “new strategy” dealing with cartels by dealing with our addiction with treatment at home. While this explanation leaves open the serious threat of ghost enrollments and the over inflated cost of treatment for mental health expanded by Obamacare, Abbott took the same old, tired “boots on the ground” approach to the border and drug war policy. Wendy Davis responded, in the highlight of the evening, “in the case of child refugees who are escaping drug violence, boots on the ground will not help the situation, but only make things worse.”
    Even if younger voters didn’t have cell phones with high speed access to the internet, this television debate clearly shows that pro-marijuana voters are voting for Wendy Davis.
    Early voting in Texas begins next month, October 30th. The official vote is November 4th. If you or a relative or friend needs to register there is still time until October 13th. Make sure you have a valid picture I.D. and a pen/vaporizer. You’re going to need both when we legalize marijuana in Texas beginning next year.
    Thank you NORML. It’s been a long time coming.

  9. My all time favorite piece of propaganda about marijuana is “You’ll never amount to anything !”
    11 U.S. presidents smoked pot and still landed the most coveted job in the world. The most decorated athlete in Olympic history,Michael Phelps with 22 medals,smoked pot. The list is long.

  10. In reference to Tony Coder’s article,maybe the guy is sitting around the house because he is not being allowed to work because of random drug testing.Remember “just say no”? Ronald Reagan the man who fired America,did and still is negatively affecting America’s dismal economy…

  11. Most people what a dark and twisted thing prohibition really is. It’s on par with homophobia and racism. Don’t believe it? read what happened to Ashley Smith. They put her in jail and the guards literally watched her hang herself without lifting a finger to stop it. That’s how hated pot smokers are. You’d be better off being a black, gay atheist in Texas. The list in long as well. Just look at how bad things are for people living in central America are like in Mexico. I’m not even sure how many people die per year because of corruption and prohibition. It’s an unfathomable number at least. Yes, and I agree. Pot does not make one stupid. Almost everyone I know who drink often are complete morons while the pot smokers I know sit around and discuss philosophy and politics after smoking one. It’s the complete and total opposite of everything you’ve been told.

  12. Interesting that a younger cohort of Americans ranked alcohol more dangerous than tobacco, while “most Americans”– a wider range of ages?– ranked tobacco more dangerous.

    Well, as Mark Kleiman said, alcohol kills younger! It takes more time– decades– to realize on personal level the over-all greater hot burning overdose monoxide danger.

    What cannabis activists can do? Ban the joint! Protest when media articles about cannabis are headed by a picture of a fascist torch masquerading as “marijuana”. (Keith, all respect, this means you.) To children whose parents followed advice to keep them ignorant about the difference with cannabis, EVERY JOINT and every picture of a joint is a $igarette advertisement. The joint, not cannabis, is the gateway drug leading into $$$ nicotine tobacco addiction and 40% death rate.

    (Derek Williams @ clear-uk.org estimates 2/3 of joints in Europe contain a “traditional” admixture of tobacco– possibly main reason why every European country now reports higher $igarette addiction rates than US, though we also have our “blunts” with sneakotine in the cigar skin wrapper.)

    Photo enthusiasts, get busy and publish videos showing how a good-looking 20-ish person uses a flexible drawtube one-hitter made from $1.29 worth of household doo-dads– or failing that a $40 pen vape.

  13. I would implore parents of young adults to not just encourage the obviously safer alternatives but speak honestly about the real dangers of alcohol as well as other drugs i.e. heroin, etc.

    The families in the suburbs and rural areas all across the U.S. are losing loved ones because we’ve been engrained as a society to think of alcohol as ok simply because it is legal.

    I’ve taught my adult children alcohol is very dangerous and especially because it can be purchased without limit in varying strengths.

    Parents that have never used marihuana but seem to be the experts when it comes to how dangerous it is are walking a fine line, pushing people to alcohol is not a good idea intentionally or not.

    When the president said he told his daughters that using marihuana was not a good idea, he should have stressed to them how much worse alcohol use can be. It is the truth.

    There are countless examples of people in our governments across the country who have had issues and are having issues with alcohol over the years. However none of the marihuana prohibitionist have ever denounced alcohol in the way they attack marihuana.

    Marihuana prohibitionists are the biggest hypocrites I know people like Kevin Sabet, Michele Leonhart, etc etc. We do not stand with your bullshit!

    Personally I’m sick of the war on weed while people are still overdosing, committing suicides as well as accidentally killing themselves or others daily on the hour due to Alcohol, prescription drugs, heroin, meth etc, etc. All the while marihuana is proven to improve the quality of lives for many people including children who suffer from epilepsy for example.

    To leave marihuana scheduled as the most harmful drug is wrong, unjust, unconstitutional and a slap in the face to all Americans. We are being used, always have been on this subject.

    I wonder if norml can tell us if there are any marihuana cases headed in the supreme courts direction? A good lawyer can make a case now with Colorado and Washington citizens as the baseline. Are we all any different than them? No? Then what do you mean we can’t put a harmless substance in our bodies?! Stupid laws haven’t stopped me for 35 years now f*(k it!

    It’ll be over sooner than we think!

  14. @ dk,

    It’s curious, isn’t it, that they don’t make that same argument about booze. And it’s probably more apropos.

  15. M, the human mind can be minefield. I place prohibs on the same level as Nazis. They have the very same personality disorders. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder leads the pack in the prohibition population. They see people have freedom to make their own decision as a threat to them personally. It is insane, but that is what this policy is about. Abusing people out of fear that they are planning on abusing you. Like with the Nazis, they provide a list of all the bad things stoners/Jews do to harm society. However, it is the Nazis who are actually planning and committing the crimes they have scapegoated onto the stoner/Jewish people. Shot by police for being Jewish or shot by the police for being a pot head is equally evil and based upon the same exact goals: Control, fear, hatred, power; both serve The Art of Ruin. Jews had their land stolen from them. What happens to marijuana growers? Their land gets stolen too and the same flimsy excuses are employed by the true criminals: This is for the better good of all.

  16. Alcohol is the bomb…it makes you fell invincible,takes the fear and the self doubt away,at least until the blackout comes,when the next day you have to ask “what happened? is everybody alright?”.While pot makes you question things, see things from different perspectives,witch can be unsettling to some people that thought they “knew” all the answers.

    Alcohol: Agression
    Cannabis: Passivity

    Yin and Yang.

    The main problem with alcohol,however, is the feeling of power while simultaneously having you’re coordination and nervous system shut down,including the penis(for males)so it becomes a paradox.

    While with cannabis,you might be meek,but you can hump like a bunny in heat–so maybe cannabis is Yang?

    (had to throw that in their for the aging baby boomers!

  17. …ill tell you what I know. I KNOW that after 32 years of consuming small amounts of cannabis instead of alcohol,(let me add that I love liquor and could drink it at first light if I wanted to but, refuse to), if my family had been able to use cannabis instead of alcohol in their day, their would NOT have been all the fighting and bad memories of a torn family and the knock down drag-outs at family gatherings. alcohol has fueled so much of that for countless families across this nation. I know families through the years as an adult that have used (with regularity)cannabis and been , way more times than not, a close, understanding and loving household in SPITE of all their differences! i have seen it with my own two red eyes and am proud to say it! seen it plenty as a young boy and, I know which side of the fence ill walk. cannabis brings peace! ill walk on the left side thank-you!!

  18. the other thing about cannabis is, one can use it as a great utility..when was the last time you found yourself being creative or, doing a job or responsibility you did not care for around the house maybe while consuming alcohol? did not work for me. body and mind going in two different directions….right? with a small amount of reasonable quality cannabis, mind and body come together! new ideas come to mind with the incentive and vigor to step forward and try them. the day to day, mundane tasks become something to cruze through and improve on while thinking of the next task!…the shit is AWESOME folks and, I know many of you know it is true! the world could be such a better place!!

  19. we need change change is good. Our corrections system needs it totally overhauled. Our president could bring about change ….we need to all be free in order to ever set any one else free as a country. Killing isnt the answer! Free yourself and be happy .
    get over anger… Free the plant!

  20. There are many ways we can compare alcohol and marijuana, it’s almost an endless abyss if you look at the moral opinions of our fellow Americans. But if we were to look at our Presidents moral opinion we would see that he doesn’t “think [marijuana] is more dangerous than alcohol” but, that is just an opinion.

    Let’s look at the facts, alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, about 62,000 men and 26,000 women die from alcohol related causes annually. Now let’s look at Marijuana, and let’s look directly at the fact that only 3 people on average die from a marijuana overdose per year. That’s a huge and drastic difference in the threats of marijuana and alcohol.

    On a separate note we have a large problem with crime involving drugs and alcohol in our society, we see that 25% of motor vehicle fatalities involve drunk drivers. Yet, for marijuana we see only contributes to 12% of fatal crashes. Now, neither of these is a safe way to be driving, but if we are looking at what is more dangerous for society I can clearly conclude, it is not marijuana.

  21. Although both alcohol and marijuana are mind altering substances that should be taken seriously, marijuana is clearly not as destructive as alcohol. When consuming alcohol you lose control of your actions essentially become an alter ego of yourself, many times resulting in embarrassment, injury, job/school problems, emotion/social ramifications etc. Alcohol abuse is also commonly associated with violent and aggressive behaviors. Approximately 92% of all domestic abuse cases are alcohol related. Marijuana, on the other hand, has a much more calm and peaceful intoxication while also providing other therapeutic benefits. Although the consumption method of smoking is not healthy for your lungs, there are other ways to consume marijuana such as edibles that eliminate the inhalation of smoke.

    The benefits of marijuana clearly outweigh the negatives and by legalizing marijuana the government will save tax dollars previously allocated to law enforcement, create tax revenue from a multi-billion dollar industry, enforce driving under the influence of marijuana, decrease jail populations and provide a safe alternative pain reliever for society. Moreover, there will be less marijuana abuse, healthier and chemically regulated marijuana, more difficult availability to minors and a large revenue loss for the Mexican cartels

  22. @Royce B. Thank you for excellent summary of positive positions.

    1. “The benefits of marijuana clearly outweigh the negatives… moreover [after law reform] there will be less marijuana abuse, healthier and chemically regulated marijuana.”

    The “marijuana abuse” that obscured the favorable “benefits/negatives” balance over the past decades was the media-popularized Abusive practice of rolling 20 tokes of weed (500 mg) into a Paper Torchbomb (“Joint”)and burning it in a few minutes at temperatures reaching 700C/1200F, producing a Drug cocktail of heat shock, carbon monoxide and 4221 Combustion toxins.

    Eliminating such Abuse is achieved by switching to Chemical Regulation in the form of a Flexdrawtube Einzelhiffer (25-mg Single Toke Universal Utensil)– “More Marley, Menos Monoxide”. (See wikiHow.com/”12 Ways to Make Pipes from Everyday Objects.” You can make your first 1-h from $1.29 of parts left lying around in your garage by the previous God, and use it to Vape instead of $moke by holding heatsource an inch or more below the opening so as to suckfeed 385F/195C heated air in upon a 25-mg serving of sifted particulate budflower

    “More difficult availability to minors.” May I suggest substituting “more Restricted Dosage for minors”? The “brain changes” scare headlines of recent weeks referred to “heavy users”, the only method of ingestion referred to was Joints, and the picture at the top of the article usually showed a big Joint or someone smoking a Joint.

    If your child KNOWS from age 3 how to Vape with a 25-mg Dosage Regulation Utensil (and infants and toddlers today still see/breathe $igarette $moking, and $igarette adverti$ing in magazines, old tv movies etc.) your child may be thereby IMMUNIZED against the Plague in Progre$$ of 800,000 young Americans a year getting Hooked on Nicotine $igarettes (#1 Medical Emergency, “$moking-related illne$$ $289-BIL. yearly cost to US economy, 2014 Surgeon General Report).

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