Speed Reads

Numbers don't lie

Every single demographic thinks alcohol is worse than weed for society

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

The federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug — the harshest categorization — putting the plant right up there with heroin and LSD. It must be dangerous stuff, right?

Not so, according to pretty much everyone outside the DEA. At least that's the finding of a new Pew survey in which sizable majorities of Americans said alcohol was more harmful than pot to a person's health and to society at large. In the poll, 69 percent said alcohol was more personally harmful than pot, while only 15 percent said the opposite. As for which was worse for society, 63 percent picked alcohol, while just 23 percent picked marijuana.

Further, those opinions were shared by every demographic — old folks, Republicans, you name it.

The poll is loaded with other fascinating tidbits: two-thirds of Americans think the nation's drug policy should focus more on rehab and treatment than on prosecution; three-fourths think legal marijuana is inevitable; and support for legalization is rapidly rising.

That last bit shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, since polls have consistently shown support for legalization growing. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll even found that twice as many people think sugar is more harmful than pot, though it unfortunately did not also test the perceived danger of marijuana-infused confections.