Majority of Young Christians in U.S. Support Legalizing Marijuana, Poll Finds


A majority of young Christians support legalizing marijuana, according to a poll released last week by the Public Religion Research Institute. In keeping with other polls, their parents and grandparents don't. 

While 50 percent of young Christians ages 18-29 support legalizing marijuana, only 45 percent of Christian adults and 22 percent of Christian seniors feel the same way. These numbers pretty much mirror non-religious polls.

Public Religion Research Institute

A slightly larger number of Christian seniors–25 percent–feel that using marijuana is morally acceptable, whereas 52 percent of young Christians feel that way. A plurality of respondents–35 percent–support making marijuana legal for medical use.

Other notable findings: Evangelical Protestants are more opposed to legalization than Catholics, but they're also more likely than Catholics to have tried marijuana.

In keeping with Jacob Sullum's argument that familiarity breeds tolerance, it would appear that the disparity between young Christians and Christian seniors reflects another disparity:

  • Young adults (43%) and middle-aged Americans (48%) are approximately three times more likely than seniors (15%) to report having tried marijuana.
  • More than 4-in-10 (45%) Christian young adults report that they have tried marijuana, compared to 13% of Christian seniors.

Respondents' concerns about marijuana don't seem to be theological, or even moral. Across all polled denominations, 62 percent did not think marijuana use was prohibited by scripture, 60 percent did not believed that liberalizing marijuana laws a sign of "moral decline in America," and 70 percent do not believe marijuana is a sin.

You can read about the Public Religion Research Institute's poll here.

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  1. It says right there in Genesis: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth…”

    1. And I was just going to say that god said don’t eat the apple and he didn’t say nuthin bout teh evil weed……

      Yours is better!

      1. Sorry to butt in, but this is open to a collectivist interpretation, since Adam represents mankind, so it is the human race in general, acting through its constituted authorities, which decides on the appropriate uses of various “herbs.”

        Not endorshing that analysis, just saying that yours isn’t the only interpretation.

        1. That interpretation is crazy, since if mankind collectively decided God doesn’t exist, then God wouldn’t exist.

          1. Interesting.

  2. Acts 4:20.

    1. As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.

  3. Contrast “Jacob Sullum’s argument that familiarity breeds tolerance”

    with this:

    “Evangelical Protestants are more opposed to legalization than Catholics, but they’re also more likely than Catholics to have tried marijuana.”

    So it seems that Catholics base their decisions on principle, while Protestants base their decisions on freaking out at the thought that they can’t responsibly handle MJ, therefore nobody should be allowed to try it.

    1. while Protestants base their decisions on freaking out at the thought that they can’t responsibly handle MJ, therefore nobody should be allowed to try it.

      It’s like they could write for Vice.

    2. Related: why is Christian doctrine even considered as a source for legal doctrine (assuming cannabis is not allowed under Christian doctrine)? Are we going to start throwing people in jail for adultery? For denying the Holy Spirit?

      1. Adultery is a crime in 23 States to this very day. It’s a felony in Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. I always get a special chuckle when I see a resident of those States say “well authorities can’t just pick and choose which laws to enforce!”

        Even more amusing is that the SCOTUS struck down anti-sodomy laws as unconstitutional in Lawrence v State of Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003). So in 23 States gay people privately having sex is perfectly legal, but heterosexual acts in certain cases are criminal offenses in those 23 States.

        If we’re going to strictly adhere to the intent of the Founders their idea of freedom of religion was that you could be any kind of Protestant that you preferred, not a choice of any or even no religion. But dealing with Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, atheists etc was a little beyond their ken. I know there were atheists living in the colonies but back in that day we kept it to ourselves. If the other religions listed above had adherents in the Colonies it was a very rare occurrence.

        It’s my impression that when the friends of essential liberty quote from the bible it’s an attempt to call out the religionists for being hypocrites, not a suggestion that public policy be based on religious dogma.

  4. Jesus is just all right with weed.

  5. Many Christians believe in Christianity is the same way liberals believe in liberty.

    1. Reminds me of a John Scalzi quote “I think Christianity is a fine religion. I wish more Christians practiced it.”

    1. “Plus-sized” is my favorite euphemism. I won’t fuck a fatty but plus-sized, well, that sounds almost tolerable.

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