Why men support marijuana legalization more than women

Published Feb 28, 2019 01:00 p.m. ET

No matter what the topic at hand may be, there will always be divides that tend to push people into labeled groups either in support or against something. Political leanings are one of the most common, followed by right wing against left wing, men vs. women, young always at odds with the older generations.

This segregation is so prevalent within our society that it makes sense for legal marijuana support to have some sort of leaning one way or the other. It turns out that women are the ones who are less likely to encourage marijuana legalization openly.

Researchers at Hartwick College and the North Carolina State University set out to try to understand why and conducted a study that used information gathered by The Pew Research Center. The results came from a survey that focused on a large list of questions surrounding cannabis. They began with a few different theories and decided to include topics that would be relevant to several of them in the survey. Respondents were asked questions about religion, parenting, consumption habits, political leaning, family roles, and questioned about their opinions on hot topics like gun control and marijuana legalization.

The information

Results from the survey were divided between men and women, and the divide isn’t huge, but it’s present. According to the answers provided during the study in 2013, both genders showed a sliding scale of support for legal marijuana.

Marijuana legalization
-59% of men and 49% of women were in support of legalizing marijuana for both recreational and medicinal use.

Marijuana a gateway drug
-63% of men and 58% of women believed cannabis to be a gateway drug.

Enforcement cost vs benefit
-78% of men and 73% of women felt that the costs of enforcing marijuana laws far outweighed the benefit.

Cannabis comfort level
-55% of men and 42% of women said they felt comfortable being around cannabis.

Medical marijuana
-83% of men and 83% of women were in full support of medical marijuana being legalized.

Federal government enforcement
-64% of men and 63% of women felt that the Federal Government should be enforcing cannabis laws.


Cannabis use
-55% of men and 42% of women admitted to using marijuana at some point in their lives.

Marijuana use in the last year
-13% of men and 10% of women said that they used cannabis within the last year.

Marijuana support
-67% of men and 61% of women are in support of legal marijuana.

The results

Researchers expected to see something entirely different than what they found when they looked deeper into the lives of those who answered the questionnaire.

Parenthood status
The most shocking finding from their research is that an individual being a parent did not affect how they felt about cannabis at all.

Religious views seemed to have the second most visible impact on a person’s answers. Women are much less likely than men to follow a religion of any kind. Participants that felt the most negatively about legal marijuana seemed to have the least religious affiliation.
Consumption Habits- The subjects comfort levels and prior history with cannabis use heavily divided the responses with

The history of the individuals in question was the final and most influential on the overall results of the study. Women, in general, are much less likely than men ever so much to try marijuana in their lives, and once this factor was considered, the gap between the sexes almost instantly disappears. This proves that a person's history of exposure and comfort levels with cannabis is the most significant driving factor of the difference in opinion, with those who had never tried it being three times more likely to be against legal marijuana.

In conclusion

Since any hesitation in supporting marijuana legalization appears to be more of a moral issue than anything else. The fact that so many who have real experience with cannabis hold a more positive view on the use of the plant points to the future of legal marijuana getting brighter with each passing year. As more and more people throughout our younger generations become used to the idea of marijuana through exposure, the support from both generations should rise until the question of whether marijuana legalization should happen will go down in history. Gone with the wind like the days of alcohol prohibition. All we need is a little more time.



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