As far as most Americans are concerned marijuana use isn’t a sin. This is the result of a new Public Religion Research Institute poll for the Religion News Service.

They surveyed Americans on their opinions about marijuana and found 45 percent think it should be legal, while 49 still think it should be prohibited. What really sets this poll apart from other recent national polls on marijuana reform is that it focused primarily on moral and religious opinions about marijuana.

According to the poll only 23 percent on the country believe marijuana use is a sin, while 70 percent think it is not a sin. Similarly, it found only 20 percent think using cannabis is prohibited by the Bible.

The poll also found only 40 percent believe using it is “morally wrong” while 49 percent say it is morally acceptable. Not surprisingly it is primarily just older Americans who see marijuana as morally wrong, as young Americans think is is acceptable.

Finally, it seems most Americans aren’t concerned the new state marijuana laws will hurt morality in this country. The survey found only 35 percent think the laws are a sign the country is in moral decline, while 60 percent disagree.

What is interesting is that this poll shows the growing support for marijuana legalization is not just a political decision but a symptom of a much broader culture shift. Americans have become more accepting of marijuana in general.

People aren’t just starting to oppose marijuana prohibition because it has failed as a policy. They are also turning against it because they don’t think marijuana use is a bad, so they don’t think the government should be trying to stop it. This should be an important consideration for marijuana activists to keep in mind when deciding on the messaging in future campaigns.

Photo by Stay Faded Photography under Ceative Commons license