The American people overwhelmingly support pot
Published on November 24, 2022 by David Wylie
A large majority of Americans say cannabis should be legal in some form.
According to a new survey by Pew Research Center, 88% of Americans say weed should be allowed for medical or recreational use. Only one in 10 say it should not be legal.
The survey, conducted between Oct. 10-16, found the majority (59%) say cannabis should be legal for both medical and recreational use by adults, while 30% say it should be legal for medical use only.
These views are virtually unchanged since April 2021, notes Pew.
While popular support is clear, political support has been less forthcoming.
However, some momentum has begun to build on the cannabis file, with President Joe Biden’s recent decision to pardon people convicted of pot possession at the federal level. Biden has also told his administration to review how marijuana is classified under federal law.
Two more states voted yes in the Nov. 8 midterm elections (Maryland and Missouri) to join a growing number of places in the US to legalize for recreational purposes. That bumps the number to 21 states and the District of Columbia.
Legalization has made significant inroads in the decade since Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize recreational cannabis in 2012.
Pew’s poll shows older Americans still struggle with the oft repeated reefer madness messaging.
“There continue to be sizable age and partisan differences in Americans’ views about marijuana,” says Pew, adding, older adults are far less likely than younger ones to favour legalizing it for recreational purposes.
“This is particularly the case among those ages 75 and older, just three-in-10 of whom say marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use. Larger shares in every other age group – including 53% of those ages 65 to 74 – say the drug should be legal for both medical and recreational use,” says the pollster in a blog post about the results.
RELATED: Clear majorities of Black Americans favour marijuana legalization, easing of criminal penalties
On the political front, 45% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents support legalizing cannabis for both medical and recreational use, while 73% of Democrats and Democratic-leaners say it should be legal for both medical and recreational use.
The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 5,098 respondents is plus or minus 1.7 percentage points.