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Photo of a sign for a medical marijuana dispensary showing that the business is open
Washington is one of several states where marijuana use has been legalized, decriminalized, or approved for medical use. (Photo courtesy of Dominic Simpson/flickr)

Twenty-three states in the United States have passed measures legalizing marijuana in some form; the majority of these states approve only medical use of marijuana, but fourteen states have decriminalized marijuana use, and four states approve recreational use as well. Washington state legalized recreational use in 2012, and in the 2014 midterm elections, voters in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington DC supported ballot measures to allow recreational use in their states as well (Governing 2014). Florida’s 2014 medical marijuana proposal fell just short of the 60 percent needed to pass (CBS News 2014).

The Pew Research Center found that a majority of people in the United States (52 percent) now favor legalizing marijuana. This 2013 finding was the first time that a majority of survey respondents supported making marijuana legal. A question about marijuana’s legal status was first asked in a 1969 Gallup poll, and only 12 percent of U.S. adults favored legalization at that time. Pew also found that 76 percent of those surveyed currently do not favor jail time for individuals convicted of minor possession of marijuana (Motel 2014).

Even though many people favor legalization, 45 percent do not agree (Motel 2014). Legalization of marijuana in any form remains controversial and is actively opposed; Citizen’s Against Legalizing Marijuana (CALM) is one of the largest political action committees (PACs) working to prevent or repeal legalization measures. As in many aspects of sociology, there are no absolute answers about deviance. What people agree is deviant differs in various societies and subcultures, and it may change over time.

Tattoos, vegan lifestyles, single parenthood, breast implants, and even jogging were once considered deviant but are now widely accepted. The change process usually takes some time and may be accompanied by significant disagreement, especially for social norms that are viewed as essential. For example, divorce affects the social institution of family, and so divorce carried a deviant and stigmatized status at one time. Marijuana use was once seen as deviant and criminal, but U.S. social norms on this issue are changing.

References

CBS News. 2014. “Marijuana Advocates Eye New Targets After Election Wins.” Associated Press, November 5. Retrieved November 5, 2014 ( (External Link) ).

Governing. 2014. “Governing Data: State Marijuana Laws Map.” Governing: The States and Localities, November 5. Retrieved November 5, 2014 ( (External Link) ).

Pew Research Center. 2013. “Partisans Disagree on Legalization of Marijuana, but Agree on Law Enforcement Policies.” Pew Research Center, April 30. Retrieved November 2, 2014 ( (External Link) ).

Motel, Seth. 2014. “6 Facts About Marijuana.” Pew Research Center: FactTank: News in the Numbers, November 5. Retrieved ( (External Link) ).

Questions & Answers

what did August comte(1798-1857) say about social dynamics?
elia Reply
what is a monogamous family?
Basu Reply
family or marriage ?
asad
what is a monogamous family?
Basu
?
asad
What is family
Sukhjit Reply
family is type of relationship in this it deals with positive and negative tearms and conditions
unknown
who's a sociologist
Denis Reply
family is a group of people who are lived under one roof and they have a biological relation.
what is the origin and development of sociology?
namiak Reply
can any one will differentiate between social movement and pressure group?
Nasiru Reply
what is the origin and development of sociology?
namiak
Do you believe that Americans may be somewhat more ethnocentric than people in the other Western industrial nations? If so, why might this be the case? If not, why is this widely believed?
Elizabeth Reply
first of all the nation have the belive an faith in their ritualistic religion people go in different temple but they don't knew the culture and the ritual of all religions so human make the braches of religion and human follows it also with this Americans also follow their own god and goodness ...
unknown
Yes, because Americans are more inclined to their culture and want to superimpose theirs to the entire world. They always show their supremacy.
Hemendra
why do people deviate from socital norms
cornelius Reply
people deviate from scital norms because their reputation matter that is why they do not involve themself in big issue of society to solve the problem. They see what is going on they are aslo intrested to knew but they not say anything on that time its a human nature which is selfishness kind...
unknown
whar is the correct ans ?
unknown
what*
unknown
what is the difference between sociology, physiology and
Evelyn Reply
what is sociology
Jobee Reply
Sociology is the study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction and culture of everyday life. 
Aamirah
Sociology is simply the study of culture and society
Kooko
sociology is a social science that studies human behavior
Nelly
sociology stands socious. sociology is the study of social awareness to knew the knowlege of social culture and social issue .sociology aways follow the instruction of social behavior in the society . it have some rule and regulation
unknown
sociology is the study of culture and individual behavior of a particular society or community
galiwango
Sociology deals with the study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interactions and culture of everyday life
Steve
yes August comte is a father of sociology
Salahu Reply
yes in english Augustus comte is the father of sociologist
unknown
augste comte was first use the word sociology... and tried to create a science if society
fadi
May You give me "Deviance and Conformity" For assignment
Mankai Reply
what is deviance
Abdullahi
Deviance means deviate behaviour (to safe him or her from any social issue of society)and conformity for assignment means conform for work (HE OR SHE is willing to do that work with full of conformation )
unknown
definition of culture
Ameh Reply
culture is habit of a society, pattern of social interaction and life style
fadi
Culture is the totality ways of peoples life.
Nwoye
What is the Scope of Sociology?
Mankai
scope of sociology is the study of social awareness and it have the some diffrent boundaries to follow the some rules and regulations in it
unknown
No..... scope is not correct as told by Akriri
capt
scope is a subject matter where we study about the particular area .Every science have own field of inquiry becouse it is difficult to study science systematically
unknown
scope of sociology is to develop our understanding of societal units and it provides us opportunity to serve them as well through adjoining various social groups and NGOs.
Lokesh
yes.... to some extent scope is subject matter but we must understand scope of sociology by understanding what is NOT a thing to be studied by sociologists eg. phycological aspects.
capt
Identify and criticize 1 psychological theory of sociological development
bobby
what do you make of Karl max's contribution to sociology?
Kategaya Reply
Classic Marxist theory has been criticised for being economically deterministic. Marx argued that 'economic laws' determined not only the shape of society but also the direction of history itself. ... The Communist Revolutions in Eastern Europe did not lead to greater equality and freedom
Yusuf Reply
exactly
Muhammed
sociology ke father kaun hai
Akash
i think auguste comte
fadi
auguste comte
Kinnu

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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