Cannabis now preferred in U.S. over tobacco 


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A survey shows that Americans now prefer legal cannabis over legal tobacco, indicating a societal shift in attitudes toward these substances. 

According to a Pew Research survey conducted in October, 59% of American adults believe marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use, while 30% approve of cannabis for medical use alone. In contrast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in a research brief last month that only 57% of American adults would support “a policy prohibiting the sale of all tobacco products.” 

The CDC considers tobacco the leading cause of preventable death. Recent years have seen a remarkable rise in public opinion toward marijuana, whose legalization as a product for recreational sale began with the passage of state measures in Washington and Colorado in 2012. 

While every state but Wyoming restricts smoking in some or all public places and workplaces, tobacco remains legal in every state. Cannabis, on the other hand, remains illegal under federal law. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, marijuana remains entirely illegal in only three states, while 21 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use, 37 states allow medical marijuana, and 10 more permit low-potency marijuana derivatives. 

Advocates and researchers fault the federal government for failing to follow the lead of states in legalizing and regulating cannabis, a move they say could help the industry promote education and safety and shed a lingering Wild West image. Although cannabis is broadly legal, it is important to note that it is not entirely safe, and more research is needed to fully understand its impact.


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