Only 7% of Australians surveyed for their views on medical cannabis said they were opposed to the 'drug' being made legal for medicinal purposes, a new survey shows. In a poll released by Roy Morgan Research, 644 Australians aged 14 and above were asked: “In your opinion should the use of marijuana* for medicinal purposes be made legal or remain illegal?” Most – 91% – said it should be made legal, while 2% were unsure. The strongest support for legalisation came from the 50-plus age group, with 94% of respondents in favour. The age group least likely to support it were 14-to-24 year-olds, but even so, 85% of that group said it should be legalised for medicinal use. Michele Levine, the CEO of Roy Morgan Research, said it was not surprising that Australians aged 50-plus were the strongest supporters.
ORIGINAL 25 October 2015
Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, said:
“Whether someone feels that smoking Cannabis should be made legal or not often indicates how progressive or traditional their social attitudes are in general. In fact, the gradual increase in the proportion of Australians who support legalisation corresponds with an increase in the proportion who describe their ‘viewpoint with regard to social issues and social trends in Australia’ as somewhat or very progressive.
However, the current debate is centred on medical use rather than personal recreational use, so this casts a different light on the issue, and may provide a clue as to why there has been significant growth in support for legalisation among Australians aged 50 and over. Medical Cannabis has been found to provide relief from, or slow the progress of, several conditions that are not uncommon among older people: glaucoma, cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and more (of course, it’s also worth noting that many Aussies aged 50+ would have been part of the hippy movement in the 1960's and 1970's, which had very liberal views on Cannabis use).
Having measured Australians’ attitudes to societal, political, environmental and health issues for many years, Roy Morgan Research has accumulated data that can assist government departments wishing to gauge how the population is feeling about particular issues at any given time”.
*Roy Morgan Reseach actually used the North American colloquialism 'marijuana' in their questioning, which is botanically incorrect and just shows their lack of knowledge regarding the herb, Cannabis sativa L.