Marijuana Voters

Drug Policy Question of the Week – 11-4-11

As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 11-4-11.

Question of the Week: What is the marijuana vote?

An October Editorial from the Christian Science Monitor lauded the federal crackdown on California medical marijuana by stating,

“Pot smokers are a small minority. They are containable … .”

Are “pot smokers” indeed a small containable minority?

According to the U.S. Census, 16 million voters in 2008 were Black, 12.3% of the total vote. About 8 million Hispanics and 3 million Asians cast their ballots respectively at 7.4% and 2.6% of the 2008 vote. The youth vote, those 18-24, numbered 12.5 million, 9.5% of the total 2008 vote.

Applying the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to the Census voting data can compute the “marijuana vote” comprised of 2008 “past year” or “monthly” marijuana users. Because of its illegality, self interest may compel these individuals to vote for candidates who are more lenient toward pot.

At respective 9.8% and 5.9% of the total 2008 vote, “marijuana voters” numbered about 13 million, with around 7.8 million making up the “medical marijuana vote.” These values are well within ranges that define minority voting blocs like Hispanics, Asians and youth.

According to Northwestern University Searle Center article,

“in 2004 less than 2.5 percentage points separated President Bush and Senator Kerry and the margin in 2000 between then-Governor Bush and Vice-President Gore was less than half a percentage point.”

The Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan declared,

“the minority support for Obama was instrumental in his success.”

With almost 40% of the youth vote reporting past year marijuana use, perhaps pot smokers will be not be so “containable” when their support becomes instrumental to candidate success in the 2012 election.

These facts and others like them can be found in the Civil Rights Chapter of Drug War Facts at