Despite the efforts of promaijuana groups, most of the public continues to see "grass" as a pernicious, habit forming substance that ultimately leads to use of harder drugs.
In a recently completed Gallup Poll, majorities of the public agree not only that it is physicially harmful (55 per cent) and addicitive (59 per cent) but also that it leads to hard drugs (59 per cent) such as heroin.
While these findings are doubtless discouraging to marijuana advocates, the percentage of Americans who believe the substance is harmful (down 11 points) and who think it leads to hard drug use (down 16 points) have both declined significantly since 1972. The percentage who believe it is phsically addictive has remained at about the same level as recorded in 1972.
Analysis of the findings for all three questions - is marijuana physically harmful, is it habit forming, does it lead to hard drug use - reveals sharp contrasts in attitudes by sex, edication, age, and region of the nation.
[WORD ILLEGIBLE] each of these population groups is generally the same on all three questions. For example:
Men are more likely to agree with the pro-marijuana viewpoint on all questions than are women;
The higher the education of the respondent, the more likely one is to hold a pro-marijuana viewpoint. In all three cases, those with only a grade school education are the most conservative in their beliefs, with the high school-educated falling between;
Younger adults (under 30) are most likely to have a pro-marijuana viewpoint wiht the 30-49-year-old group significantly more anti-marijuana, and those over 50 years old most convinced of its harmful qualities;
People living in the Northeast and far West are more apt, on all three questions, to have a pro-marijuana viewpoint than are Midwesterners and Southeners.
Yesterday, the Gallup Poll reported that the percentage of Americans who have sample marijuana at least once has risen to 24 per cent with about half these having tried it during the last year.
Analysis of the views of persons who have tried marijuana reveals a not unecpected consistency. Those who have never tried marijuana are, in all three cases, more likely to accept the anti-marijuana view than are users. And among users, those whose contact with the substance was more than one year ago have uniformly more anti-marijuana views than currents users.