The following six pictures might look like the same smiling face, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. These six pictures are facial averages of United States politicians based on their stances on marijuana. We took a look at governors, congressmen and senators and averaged their faces based on which side of the prohibition debate they stand.

Today, America faces a rapidly changing attitude on marijuana. In addition to a rash of states who have now legalized marijuana for medicinal use, certain states have chosen to legalize the drug outright. A majority of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana, and politicians who once derided marijuana as a dangerous substance are beginning to throw their support behind the drug.

You would expect this debate to be a debate of new school versus old school, the young crowd versus the old crowd.

Visually, sure. While the average faces of these politicians do not seem to differ greatly at first glance, a closer look reveals slight differences between the faces of this debate. You can see this illustrated in the Governors and Senators categories especially, where the average face of an anti-marijuana politician has slightly older features and gray hair. In the Congressman category, the main difference is slightly darker skin, more facial hair shading on the upper lip, as well as darker hair.

However, the numbers tell a different story from the one you might expect. The average age of a congressman for legalization of marijuana is 58.7, whereas an anti-marijuana congressman is 57.4. The average age of an anti-marijuana senator is 62.4, but a senator for legalization is 62.5. The expectation of an age difference is somewhat more borne out when looking at governors, where the anti-marijuana governor’s average age is 61.4, while the pro-marijuana governor’s average age skews younger, at 59.8.

 

The Average Face of a Politician

The results may speak to the fact that the faces of American politicians are more similar to each other than we’d expect. Facial homogeneity aside, it’s clear that there are two distinct sides to this debate, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Marijuana may be legal in certain states now, but federal law still prohibits its possession and use. The current White House views marijuana as a states’ rights issue, but if the administration changes, there’s no telling how it could change the landscape. Though the majority of Americans now support legalization, elected officials will still play a big role in shaping marijuana policy in the years to come.

 *The facial average above is comprised of all male governors, senators, and congressmen, from both sides of the marijuana reform isle.

Methodology

For this project we compiled a list of active state governors, senators, and congressmen, segmenting each by known stances on Marijuana legalization. Their faces were averaged using PsychoMorph (depicted above). To accomplish this, points were meticulously placed on each face to achieve an accurate, clear result from the overlaid images. To learn more about this process, and the software used, please visit its wiki.

Each facial average is made up of all male governors, senators, and congressmen, who have a clear stance on Marijuana. Politicians have been grouped into two categories based on their stance; Pro-Marijuana and Anti-Marijuana. “Pro-Marijuana” politicians consist of politicians who are open to, or in favor of medicinal or recreational marijuana legalization. “Anti-Marijuana” politicians have a clear stance against legalization.

Fair Use

Feel free to use any of the images found on this page related to this project. When doing so, we ask that you please attribute this project by linking back to this page, so your readers can reference our methodology, and view additional project assets.

 

Sources

http://www.house.gov/representatives/

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Governors.shtml

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm