Around the world, attitudes towards cannabis are changing. In response to growing public support, several countries have moved to legalise the drug for recreational use in the past decade. Uruguay did so in 2013, followed by Canada in 2018 and Malta in 2021, among others. Just last month, lawmakers in Germany passed a bill to legalise recreational marijuana. Many more, including the UK and Australia, have green-lit cannabis for medical use. While it remains illegal at the national level in the US, a dramatic shift in public opinion has been driving a wave of legalisation: 38 states and Washington DC now allow either medicinal or recreational use of cannabis.
Since the 1990s, the proportion of people in the US in favour of legalising cannabis has more than tripled, with a majority – nearly 7 in 10 – saying they support it.
When people are specifically asked about medicinal and recreational use, that figure climbs even higher, with 9 in 10 saying they support legalisation in some capacity.
How did we get here? For one thing, it isn’t down to shifting …