The Marijuana Voting Bloc
Everyday I read and hear marijuana activists stating the importance of the marijuana voting bloc in this election. It got me wondering, how big is the marijuana voting bloc? Can the marijuana voting bloc even be measured? I Googled the question, and the overwhelming return dealt with 2012 presidential candidate Gary Johnson. Gary Johnson told Outside Magazine, "A hundred million Americans have smoked marijuana. You think they want to be considered criminals?" Johnson said. I would agree with the statistic that roughly 100 million Americans have consumed marijuana at least once in their life, but does that make them all part of a marijuana voting bloc?
According to the US Government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive, 95,916,972 Americans have consumed marijuana at least once in their lives. How they have such an approximate number kinda boggles my mind, but it sounds realistic. However, the number of people that actually smoke marijuana more than once in their life is less than people that do it more frequently. Below is a table of marijuana use in the United States from 1990-2005:
As you can see, the number of people that smoke marijuana once in a year fluctuates almost 8 million people a year sometimes. I don't think that the marijuana voting bloc is not as large as the number that Gary Johnson said, but I think it's obviously more than the lowest number of marijuana consumers in any given year in America. As the graph shows, there are more and more people consuming marijuana towards the end of the data, and I don't think it's a stretch to say that number is likely gone up since the last year of data.
What do readers think? How big is the marijuana voting bloc? The voting marijuana voting bloc would include consumers, as well as non-consumers that are sympathetic to the cause and/or are tired of pursuing a colossal public policy failure. Another important factor to include when trying to quantify a marijuana voting bloc is that there's the requirement of being an actual voter to be considered a part of the marijuana voting bloc. Most of the marijuana consumers that I know never vote. Politics is not 'their thing' which is ironic because these are often the same people that complain about marijuana not being legal.
If every person that consumed marijuana once in their life and people that have never consumed marijuana but believe in logical government policies got together and provided their signatures for an initiative in every state that has such a system, marijuana reform would dominate the ballot every election. If the same people got together and called their representatives and senators, initiatives wouldn't even be needed because every state in the country would have marijuana legalization bills in the legislature, and due to overwhelming pressure, the bills would pass easily.
However, that's not the case because for one reason or another many marijuana consumers and sympathizers just sit on the fence and talk the talk, instead of walking the walk. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is. How do we fix that? How do we make a really strong marijuana voting bloc, with more people than politicians could ever imagine, and that all vote every time they get the chance? Or even better, how do we get marijuana activists to run for elections themselves?