Drug Law

Poll: Majority of Americans Support Legal Marijuana

| by NORML
By "Radical" Russ Belville

74% support medical marijuana and even 48% strongly support medical marijuana... so why don't politicians?

The latest Harris Interactive poll is confirming what polls before have consistently confirmed in the 21st century – Americans overwhelmingly support the medical use of cannabis.  Across the nation, nearly three out of four Americans (74%) strongly support or somewhat support legalizing medical marijuana in their state.  In somewhat of a surprise. support for medical marijuana is greatest in the East, at 80%, while the West, which had led the nation in other polls, comes in at 76% support, just barely edging out the Midwest at 74%.  The South has the lowest support for medical marijuana, but still a huge majority at 69%.

While the nationwide support of legalization for personal use* in this poll only comes in at 42% with opposition at 49%, looking at the coasts show that half of the people in the East and West support legalization, presumably a majority when there must be some “no opinion” and “no answer” responses.

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In another question, Harris asks ”Regardless if you think marijuana generally should be legalized or not, do you think that the decision should be at the state level, or do you think it should be a federal decision which applies to all states?”  Only in the East did a plurality of respondents believe that the federal government should dictate marijuana policy (47%), while pluralities in the South (44%) and Midwest (42%) believe that should be a state decision.  In the West, a majority (52%) believe it should be a state decision.

Few respondents believe that marijuana legalization would lead to an increase in the crime rate (28%) and money spent on prisons (20%).  Majorities believe that legalization will increase the number of people who use it (68%) and the amount they use (also 68%), raise tax revenue (75%) and increase the consistency and standardization of cannabis (59%).

*They call it “recreational” use.  I dislike that term.  It makes it sound like you’re towing an RV and kayaking down a canyon.  ”Recreational” also includes people who are using for spiritual purposes, wellness purposes, and creative types like me who use it for work (nothing cures writer’s block like a fresh bowl).  When you call it “personal use”, you’re including everyone who uses cannabis for whatever reason they choose?