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Why Do Men Support Marijuana Legalization More Than Women?

When it comes to most political issues, women tend to be more progressive than men. But there's one issue where that's not the case: marijuana. But why?

Two researchers, Laurel Elder and Steven Greene, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post to discuss their study about why men support marijuana legalization more than women. They tackled several hypotheses about why men support marijuana more and offered their own conclusion.

First, they addressed the idea that you probably thought when you found out men support marijuana more than women: Motherhood. Mothers are seen to be more protective of their children, so therefore would not support marijuana legalization so little Johnny doesn't end up a dope fiend. But actually their research showed that parenthood actually isn't that big a factor in marijuana views.

But one thing that is a factor is religion. While women may be more progressive, they also attend church at higher rates than men and are more likely to be "born again." People who are more religious are also more likely to be anti-marijuana.

Another factor they said affects the gap between men and women is what they call the "risky white men hypothesis." Essentially, white men tend to favor policies that don't take future consequences into account. So that's why white men are less likely to worry about global warming than white women or minorities. The researchers say that since men don't really care about the possible consequences of marijuana legalization, that's why they support it more. They note that white men overwhelmingly support legalization, while women of color have the lowest support of the issue.

But the ultimate reason why they say men support legalization more than women is that they smoke weed more. Men use marijuana more than women according to most studies and surveys, and essentially that gap between the amount of men who use marijuana and the amount of women who use it is the same as the gap between men supporting legalization and women supporting it. 

Why do men use marijuana more? Well that's a separate issue. But the main hypothesis from psychologists and sociologists is that men tend to be more prone to risk-taking and deviant behavior, which includes marijuana use. Now to explain that would require a whole new set of research as well.

But essentially, men smoke more weed and are therefore more likely to support legalization.

(h/t Washington Post)


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