- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Health concerns caused by a spate of recent vaping illnesses has not hurt support among Americans for legalizing marijuana, the results of a new Gallup poll showed Wednesday.

Sixty-six percent of respondents surveyed this month support making marijuana legal, Gallup reported, mirroring the results of a similar poll conducted by the firm in late 2018.

The results of the latest Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted with 1,526 adults in all 50 states between Oct. 1 and Oct. 13, suggesting nationwide support for legalizing marijuana remains steady in spite of concerns stemming from a rash of vaping-related illnesses reported in recent months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned the public last month about an outbreak of severe lung injuries associated with vaping, and as of last week the agency was aware of at least 1,479 related cases spanning nearly all 50 states, including 33 instances that resulted in death.

Most of the recent lung injuries studied by the CDC involved patients who reported vaping products that contain THC, marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient, including particularly products obtained “off the street” as opposed to from licensed marijuana retailers.

“Since the specific cause or causes of lung injury are not yet known, the only way to assure that people are not at risk while the investigation continues is to consider refraining from use of all e-cigarette and vaping products,” the CDC warned last week.

Marijuana is categorized as a Schedule 1 drug under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act and is accordingly prohibited under federal law.

Thirty-three states have passed legislation allowing the use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions, however. Eleven of those have separately passed laws permitting adults to use marijuana for non-medical, or recreational, purposes.

The CDC has advised against vaping any products, including those containing substances such as THC or nicotine, until their risks are fully understood.

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