I know someone (an American) who supports legalization of marijuana, but he has no intention of ever smoking it. (He mildly disapproves of it, but doesn't think its consequences are severe enough to be worth jailing people for it. And he believes the punishments are extremely draconian.)

What I wonder is, are there many other people who feel that way--that they want to legalize it, but have no intention of ever smoking it?

  • 3
    The concept of "Harm minimization" comes to mind. Nov 27 '15 at 10:01

I couldn't find exact numbers, but I can give a relatively reasonable estimation.

Last year marijuana use in Colorado, where it's legal, by individuals 12 and older was at 12.7 percent (specifically this is percent who used within the last month, which is pretty good estimation of those who desire and support actual use of it). This was last year before distribution went up, new studies haven't come in yet; however, preliminary studies suggest that the number has not increased much with easier distribution; so likely still about 13% use.

However in the us 58 percent support legalizing marijuana. and 55 percent of Colorado supports the law.

So if we make a small presumption that Colorado is roughly indicative of the rest of the country then it looks like more then 40% of Coloradans support legalized marijuana despite having no desire to use it. This also means only around 25% of those that support marijuana legalization have a desire to use it.

Not as good as an official Gallup poll, but should give you a good rough estimation for the percentages.

And of course as I said I personally wish to legalize it. I don't want anyone to smoke it, but making it illegal does too much harm, in expense to the government that must fund prosecution of it (and lose tax on it), harm to individuals who suffer absurdly disproportionate punishments for it's use, and harm to society by creating a criminal black market for it which leads to encouraging other crimes. The harm of allowing people to freely use marijuana is tiny, the harm in trying to prevent it huge; thus the reasonable choice is to legalize it.

Besides, all things being equal I prefer to allow people the freedom to make choices, even ones I don't personally encourage, so long as they are not doing harm to others or substantial harm to themselves, and again marijuana just doesn't do that much harm. People need to be free to make that choice.

  • I'm not sure that's a safe assumption to make (# of people who USE == number of people who EVER want to use). There may be plenty of people who don't use it among the 87% who may plan to try/use eventually, but didn't this year.
    – user4012
    Dec 2 '15 at 14:44
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    @user4012 I acknowledge it isn't perfect, but the exact numbers weren't around. I was looking not at those who were considering trying it once out of cuiosity (I do have better statistics for that, but think it's less relevant), but instead was looking at those who actually want to use it on a more regular basis. I say this because I think it's more in keeping with the spirit of the question, which seems to ask how many want to legalize marajuana without expecting to benefit directly from use; and I doubt many choose to legalize marijuana when they othewise wouldn't just to try it once...
    – dsollen
    Dec 2 '15 at 14:47
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    however, all the studies suggest that marijuana use is not going up by much currently in the legalized states, thus whi.e I expect the number to increase a little bit I don't currently anticipate it being significantly higher, I did already round up to 13% to adjust slightly for expected increases. I don't think were going to get much better then that until new studies come in shrug
    – dsollen
    Dec 2 '15 at 14:53
  • The problem is that the question asked (and that's exactly what I'm interested) about people intending to use ever. I personally would NEVER do MJ, but there are people I know aren't like that - yet they didn't do MJ yet despite living or being where it's legal.
    – user4012
    Dec 2 '15 at 14:56
  • 1
    There will also be the people who did it when they were younger but don't now. Jun 19 '17 at 9:50

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