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People With First-Hand Experience More Likely to Perceive Pot Positively

Ever heard the old adage, “don’t knock it ‘til you try it’? Gallup’s latest polling data seems to support that concept, showing that 70% of American adults—the ones who have actually tried it—think its effects on users are positive.

These results were collected July 5-26 from Gallup’s Consumption survey, conducted annually during the month of July.

A large majority, or 70% of Americans who have ever tried cannabis think pot’s effects on users are “very” or “somewhat positive,” and 66% think pot’s effect on society is “very” or “somewhat positive.”

But on the other hand, a similarly large majority of people who have never tried cannabis think its effects are negative, with 72% saying its effect on society is “very” or “somewhat negative” and 62% saying its effects on users are “very” or “somewhat negative.”

This means that it is possible to assume people don’t like cannabis, until they actually try it, or witness the amazing healing properties of cannabis firsthand.

“This survey data indicates that personal experience with cannabis is a relatively surefire cure for ‘reefer madness,’” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “As greater percentages of adults continue to become familiar with marijuana for either therapeutic purposes or for their own personal use, expect to see many of the more sensational yet specious claims that once dominated the cannabis narrative be regulated to the dustbin of history.”

While about half of Americans have tried pot at some point—48%—just 16% say they are currently smoking it.

America’s Overall View

Americans are split down the middle over pot’s effect on society with 49% considering it positive and 50% considering it negative. Slightly more support for pot’s effect on users was found, with 53% saying it’s positive and 45% negative.

Armentano is “not particularly” surprised American adults remain divided about their views on cannabis.

“We’ve known for some time that there is a percentage of Americans who believe that marijuana ought to be legalized and regulated,” Armentano tells Chronic News. “Because criminalizing it is a policy that has not worked, and that comes with very high costs. And I think that is reflected in the fact that Gallup finds a supermajority of Americans think marijuana ought to be legal, yet, America’s fairly evenly divided on whether or not marijuana use Per seIt is beneficial. There is a small percentage of people who don’t like cannabis but still enjoy it. Interdiction cannabis even more.”

Americans seem to be more open-minded about the dangers of cannabis than alcohol, and they see it as a positive alternative. Gallup’s earlier survey last month showed that 34% of Americans believe alcohol has negative effects on society and 71% believe it can be harmful.

When Gallup began surveying Americans about cannabis in 1969—only 4% said they thought it should be legal. The number of Americans who think pot should be legalized has increased slowly, but steadily over the past decades to reflect rapidly evolving attitudes. According to Gallup’s most recent survey, 68% of U.S. adults, tied for the record high, think pot should be legal.

The Benefits of Cannabis

The second-best thing to first-hand experience is the power of social media and how it’s showing the world that cannabis has fewer harms than alcohol and most of all, that it can help heal.

These videos could help to convert those opposed to cannabis reform and the undecided.

This could be illustrated by viral videos posted on social media that showcase the amazing healing properties of CBD or THC. Pete Starostecki (a Facebook user) was an interstate cannabis refugee who posted a viral video showing CBD oil preventing seizures. For example, professional British boxer Anthony Fowler. posted a videoThe CBD oil was able to stop a shaking dog after a seizure.

Further media exposure of cannabis helps normalize Americans who are hardworking and functional, which is evident by the increasing number in subsequent Gallup polls.