If you are in the West Wing attending a high-power cabinet meeting and there are 10 people in attendance, chances are one of you has bought legal marijuana.
That is if research from the Consumer Research Around Cannabis is to be believed. The group has recently asked close to 1,400 people in Washington D.C., and some parts of West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland about cannabis, and found that 8% have confirmed that they have bought marijuana from a legally licensed dispensary or retailer. But if you limit this to the respondents who worked for the government, that number goes up to 11%.
Out of all the buyers in the survey, a good 16.7% – or 1 out of every 6 – are government employees.
Government employees in D.C. also said that marijuana should be legal, with 41% of them supporting the initiative. Only around 11% of government employees did not agree to the legalization of the medical and adult recreational use of marijuana.
While some government employees in D.C. undergo drug testing, the buyers in the survey are those in posts that do not require them. Also, the leadership or those who are in charge, are predominantly against marijuana legalization. However, as pointed out by NORML legal counsel Keith Stroup, most of their employees do not share their views. Stroup also said that people working for the Justice Department are embarrassed by the Attorney General Sessions.
It should be noted that Washington D.C. has a unique marijuana retail landscape. Since 2014, recreational use of marijuana is legal in the area, but it is not legally sold. That is because Congressmen who were opposed to legalization blocked any retail initiative in D.C.
The changing face of the stoner
Most people unfairly think that stoners are unemployed bums with low IQ.
Nope, it is not. Apart from the government workers in the survey, the survey also showed that a good majority, or more than 88%, were employed. This is higher than the general employment rate of Washington D.C., which is pegged at 64.5%. More than that, these respondents also have a high household income, with more than 75% of them earning $50,000 or more. More than a third of these respondents earn more than $100,000. Close to half, or 48%, owned more than $100,000 in liquid assets, while roughly the same number have traded bonds and stocks within the past year.
That means that marijuana users in Washington D.C. are well-educated, gainfully employed, and have sound financial situations.
What do all these mean? It means that this segment of consumers is upwardly moving and has spending money. It is easy for companies and legislators to dismiss “potheads” when they are stereotyped as dumb bums who can’t even decide what shirt to wear.
But here you have a group of consumers that have money and are willing to buy your product. In short, you have a whole new group of buyers out there who uses marijuana.
Legislators would also need to wake up. Marijuana does not make you dumb. In fact, they are being used by government employees and other people who dabble into the stock market and can maintain liquid assets to their names. Especially in Washington, D.C., where it is legal to use but it is illegal to sell marijuana. What kind of a twisted idea is that?
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Attitudes towards marijuana legalization is changing, with more and more people now supporting steps to legalize cannabis in different areas of the world. In some countries and in some states of the United States, recreational use of marijuana is even allowed, on top of the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
Along with the relaxed marijuana laws and the growing acceptance for marijuana, the profile of the average marijuana user also changed. It is no longer just dumb college kids and unemployed bums, but financially responsible adults who hold on to good jobs and have money to burn.