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Republicans Try Marijuana at Higher Rate Than Democrats

It’ll come as a surprise to most, but Republicans try marijuana at a higher rate than Democrats. A Gallup poll found that 33% of Republicans have tried America’s favorite (and safest) illicit drug while a slightly lower 31% of Democrats have inhaled the celebrated herb.

Thinking back, I remember when it was learned that House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman and other Republicans had enjoyed marijuana in their pasts, and I recall the 2002 Republican congressional page scandal in which eleven pot smoker pages sponsored by Republican House members were dismissed subsequent to the discovery of marijuana in their Capitol Hill dormitory. I guess I should have put two and two together.

Politically speaking, the obvious question is “Why doesn’t this translate into more Republican support for marijuana decriminalization or legalization?” Only 21% of Republicans want the herb legalized while 37% of Democrats do. Do Republicans experience different effects? Do they feel guilty after imbibing?

Maybe we just need more Republicans to bring their views on marijuana laws out of the closet. Take Gary Johnson for instance. The former Republican governor of New Mexico supported the legalization of marijuana in a very public way when he was in office, in fact, he was eager to make it part of his legacy. He also wanted people to understand that he didn’t just “experiment” with the weed: “In running for office during my first term, I offered up the fact that I smoked marijuana. And the media was very quick to say, ‘Oh, so you experimented with marijuana’…No, I smoked marijuana. This is something that I did. I did it along with a lot of other people. But me and my buddies, you know…we enjoyed what we were doing,” said Johnson in 1999.

Of course, there’s another high-profile Republican not shying away from telling people marijuana should be legal -- Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-TX) who has served in Congress for almost 20 years. And, heck, he just recently set the GOP’s one-day fundraising record of $4.3 million. Hmmm, it sure doesn’t seem like his supporters are afraid of his marijuana legalization spiel.

George Shultz, former Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan, also wants marijuana legalized. Almost 20 years ago, he coined an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal to tell people “...We need at least to consider and examine forms of controlled legalization of drugs.”

Another of Reagan’s most trusted aides, Lyn Nofziger, who also worked for Nixon and shares responsibility for unleashing the Reagan drug war on America, joined Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) at a 2002 Capitol Hill press conference to support a federal medical marijuana bill and to push President Bush and other Republicans to get onboard. “I've become an advocate of medical marijuana…It is truly compassionate. I sincerely hope the administration can get behind this bill,” he said.

And then there are some of the Republican Party’s luminaries. Highly respected and influential ultra-conservatives like William F. Buckley, Jr. and Milton Friedman have called for marijuana legalization at least since Nixon famously visited Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai in 1972. I suppose the appropriate question is “When will the Republicans decide to take the high road to China on this one?”

Note: It is interesting and important to realize that all of the conservatives whose viewpoints on drug policy were discussed above, save Nofziger, go much further than only wanting marijuana to be legal. In fact, they have either explicitly called for all drugs to be legalized or have strongly alluded to the idea they should be.

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Old link

That link is from 5 years ago.

The point remains...

We're not aware of any more recent data that breaks down marijuana initiation by political affiliation.

This data illustrates an important point about marijuana: that it is not the cut and dry partisan political issue into which many have attempted to brand it.

This observation is worth making at a time when drug policy is being discussed among presidential candidates on both sides of the political spectrum.

I Totally Agree

I didn't mean to invalidate the article, just to make sure that you weren't presenting it as something new.

The fact that there are equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans among marijuana users is not a surprise at all to me. In fact, the most avid pot smokers I know are all Republicans.

old link

No kidding? That must be why the link is labeled 2002 scandal! Derr..

In answer to your question...

“When will the Republicans decide to take the high road to China on this one?”
I believe they will when we get Dr. Ron.Paul elected. I urge everyone to get registered as a Republican now, so you can vote in the primaries and make your voice heard! In a free society we all can grow our own!

Ron Paul is Brilliant

What we need is an intelligent mind in the White House. Dr. Paul is my choice, and I hope that all of his supporters will personally influence all of their family and friends to at least consider voting for this man. A man who is not owned by the lobbyists.

Really, its great that we all Love Ron, but unless each of us find others he will LOSE. Let's get to work.

Register as a Republican Now

"I urge everyone to get registered as a Republican now, so you can vote in the primaries and make your voice heard!"

Primaries start in January. I don't know how it works in other states, but in Florida, you have to be registered for at least a month in advance of the elections. Don't procrastinate.

Republican Outed

And here I have already come out as a Republican.

Minority Problem

Every aspect of the cited poll shines a very bright light on our problem:

In no instance do we represent the majority.

Basically, less than 50% use = marijuana prohibition.

I'm guessing that alcohol prohibition was repealed, because the majority of Americans at the time had tried alcohol.

Despite anti-WoD supporters who never tried marijuana (if they exist), Democrats are afraid of the 63% non-users in their party, while Republicans are even more afraid of their 79%.

This is why we need to have a concise, well-articulated message projected via mainstream channels, if we want positive change to occur faster than it is.

The poll simply shows that our message is gaining weak to no exposure to more Republicans than Democrats.

Getting the major news outlets to see the big story here, prompting strong investigative reporting, would shine a very bright light on the ugly reality.


"Do Republicans experience different effects?"

Made me lol.

smoke weed everyday! its a

smoke weed everyday! its a great way to become a mathematician! an engineer! hey, i did.  have sex with your piano, i did, have sex with chopin! i did! smoke weed, you'll be happy you did!



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