Support for the legalization of marijuana is split along generational lines. According to a new Quinnipiac poll, only 44% of baby boomers support legalizing the drug compared to 85% of their millennial counterparts.
When asked if “the use of marijuana should be made legal in the U.S.” the majority of Americans say yes—in fact 60% of agree. The largest age group of opposed to legalization efforts are the 65 and older crowd. As the age groups get younger, the support gets stronger. Tim Malloy, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll, added, “The baby boomers say no to the drug that helped define an era, while the millennials say bring it on.”
Marijuana Moment, a group following many of the marijuana policy updates across the country, noted that despite this new poll the percentage of people in favor of cannabis legalization has dropped three points since last year. With such divided support, this hot button issue will certainly be up for debate in the upcoming years.
The illegal status of marijuana is also effecting other products in the marijuana industry. Before his resignation, FDA Chief, Dr. Scott Gottlieb told Congress that Cannabidiol, or CBD oil can’t be added to consumer products, and will continue to be labeled as not approved for any therapeutic purposes. This move is due to the fact that CBD is only legal in states with medical marijuana laws, and because marijuana is still listed as a Schedule 1 narcotic on the federal level.
Market trends have shown that CBD is a popular product among millennial shoppers. Though the oil—often in sprays, snacks, or drinks—is a byproduct of the marijuana plant, CBD companies claim to sell products with mood and stress-relieving benefits without any of the high.
CNBC reports that Gottlieb’s parting comments on CBD leave a “billion-dollar question” for businesses looking to profit on CBD and other marijuana products such as hemp. The negotiations on the federal level are moving quickly—which is not very common in Washington D.C. Just last week, Gottlieb announced that the FDA would hold its first public hearings on the topic next month. In his poorly timed exit he has instead abandoned talks of new FDA regulation on CBD before anything has been put on the books.
At the same time, last week the FDA approved a new nasal spray derived from ketamine—or synthetic marijuana—set to be used to treat depression. Mixed signals!
The synthetic marijuana prescription will be listed under the name “Esketamine” and is the first depression treatment the FDA has approved in decades. Though the drug is controversial, to say the least, according to the Depression Alliance, “Ketamine therapy is about so much more than a fun party or a weekend escape. It’s about healing lives that have been fractured by crippling disorders.”
The interesting news is that most of us agree on one thing: the same Quinnpiac poll found that 93% of Americans support prescription marijuana for medical purposes. In such polarizing times, I for one hope we can leverage such support for medical marijuana and research on its medicinal uses.