Daniel Doherty
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This sort of stuff is really fascinating to me. I wouldn’t technically fall into this category myself -- I’m an under 30, self-identified Catholic who supports decriminalizing marijuana -- but public opinion, it seems, is moving swiftly in favor of legalization. Via Hot Air and Yahoo! News:

A recent poll showing that a slim majority of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana made national headlines. And now, the pro-pot movement appears to have taken another step forward, with a survey showing that nearly half of all young Christians in the U.S. also favor legalizing cannabis.

In the poll, 50 percent of self-identified Christian youths ages 18-29 favor legalizing marijuana. Forty-four percent of those surveyed say they oppose legalization. Only 22 percent of Christian seniors who took part in the survey said they favor legalization.

The Catholic Church, for example, has certainly had its issues over the years, but this little nugget must have some evangelical Christians reeling:

Interestingly, a greater percentage young Christians say they find smoking pot to be morally acceptable compared with the general population. Fifty-two percent said they are OK with pot smoking, compared with 49 percent of all Americans.

Most fascinating of all, according to the study’s research director, six in ten Christian millennials “do not believe that new laws legalizing the use of marijuana signal widespread moral decline in the country.” Stunning. So what, exactly, do they believe it signifies? A victory for freedom and liberty and state’s rights perhaps? (Hint: Yes.)

By the way, scientific evidence pretty convincingly disproves the notion that marijuana is more dangerous and addictive than alcohol -- and yet, pot enthusiasts argue, alcohol is ubiquitous and consumed by Americans in truly stunning quantities every single year. Why then shouldn’t marijuana be regulated, taxed, and readily available at your local 7-Eleven or CVS? It’s a good question, of course. But legalizing pot at the federal level, I think, would almost certainly de-stigmatize public consumption of yet another harmful substance -- a substance famous for stifling personal initiative, ambition and ingenuity. Remember, the government has a vested interest in crafting public policies that promote virtue and civic responsibility. Therefore, I’m not so sure legalizing pot is in the nation’s best interest.

On the other hand, I don’t want to see teenagers and kids stuck behind bars because they experimented with recreational substances when they were younger. (I can’t imagine punishing young people for non-violent crimes is something which most followers of Christ would support either). So perhaps there’s a middle way, a way in which both sides can find common ground for the time being to resolve this increasingly obvious tension between federal and state governments vis-à-vis marijuana usage. But my hunch is that, in the long-run, pot will someday be lawful in all fifty states -- and, ironically, Christian support will almost certainly be one of the many reasons why.

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Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography