America Has Spoken: Medical Cannabis Is Essential

Politics News - Online Poll

It seems Americans can’t live without medical weed.

An online poll, carried out last week by YouGov, showed that over half of respondents think medical cannabis dispensaries provide an essential service. 

The poll included 5,369 US adults who were asked a simple question: do they believe that medical cannabis dispensaries should be considered essential services? 53% said yes, only 26% disagreed, and 21% were left undecided.

Unsurprisingly, younger and more liberal respondents were more in favor of keeping medical weed dispensaries open amid the chaos caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Nearly 60% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 54 found that medical cannabis was essential, whereas 47% of 55-year-olds and over felt the same.

Moreover, gender doesn’t seem to play a factor — an almost equal number of men and women see medical cannabis as an irreplaceable part of their daily lives (54% and 52%, respectively).

As expected, Democrats were more inclined to see medical cannabis retailers as necessary than any other political group with 62% considering pot dispensaries indispensable services. 43% of Republicans and 52% of independent voters also supported weed shops and their right to operate during the ongoing pandemic.

52% of respondents with an annual income of $80,000 or more supported medical pot shops. Over 40% of those with lower annual earnings agreed that medical cannabis retailers provide an essential service; with 48% of respondents making less than $40,000 and 45% of respondents earning between $40,000 and $80,000.

In terms of regions, the Northeast had the most supporters for weed dispensaries. 57% of respondents in this region wanted cannabis shops to stay open as opposed to just 26% who believed they should be closed.

Even in the South, where most wouldn’t expect support, half of the respondents said medical weed is essential and only a quarter were against keeping weed dispensaries open during a time of crisis. 25% said they were not sure.

The lockdown caused by the spreading of coronavirus has shown how crucial medical cannabis was in people’s lives. Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a Harvard Medical School instructor, noted that, at this time, removing cannabis as a pain-relieving medicine from the tens of thousands of patients who rely on it would be a “disaster.”

Although most states are keeping weed dispensaries open, certain limitations are being imposed. Nevada, for instance, is allowing delivery only to state residents in an effort to reduce inter-state movement. In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker is allowing medical dispensaries to remain open, but not recreational cannabis shops due to the fear of attracting out-of-state customers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not been kind to businesses. So far, cannabis companies seem to be holding up and adjusting the way they operate to the changing circumstances. Sales of cannabis have skyrocketed since the pandemic started with people stockpiling cannabis and opting for home delivery and curbside pickups rather than in-store services.

But will the cannabis industry survive the crisis? Or will it too be affected by the economic recession threatening the livelihood of millions over the world?

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