Students' attitudes toward marijuana legalization and law enforcement

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University of Alabama Libraries

The legalization of recreational marijuana is a policy change that eight states have recently enacted, providing a tax revenue that greatly benefits the states in which marijuana is legalized. While the state of Alabama has been slow to consider the legalization of recreational marijuana, there have been efforts to enact lesser penalties and legalize the medical use of cannabis. Citizens’ attitudes regarding legislation of any kind have been found to have an effect on their relationship with police officers. This current study examines college students’ attitudes regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana and their attitudes towards police officers. An online survey was administered to 314 undergraduate students enrolled in an Introduction to Criminal Justice course at The University of Alabama. The results found that 65% of college students supported the legalization of marijuana in Alabama and that the support for legalization was significantly related to students’ attitudes towards police officers. Policy implications suggest that non-legalization of marijuana will lead to less support for law enforcement by an important sector of the population.

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