Results from a recent poll have revealed the vast majority of Americans believe cannabis should be legal for medical use. And there’s pretty strong support for the recreational side of things as well.
A Pew Research Center Survey indicates 59% of Americans believe marijuana should be legal for adults for medical and recreational use, and an additional 30% say it should be legal for medical use only.
The Pew survey was carried out in the wake of President Joe Biden flagging major marijuana reforms, including looking at how marijuana is scheduled under federal law – currently Schedule I, which is usually used for the most dangerous drugs.
While there appears to be overall majority support for marijuana to be legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes in the USA, this support varies between age groups and partisan differences. For example, older adults are far less likely than younger age groups to favor legalizing it for recreational purposes. Just three-in-ten of those aged 75 and older say marijuana should be legal for both applications. But among the 65 to 74 age bracket, 53% say it should be legal.
Looking at political party affiliations or leanings, Republicans are more wary than Democrats about legalizing marijuana for recreational use, with 45% of this group favoring legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use (additional 39% support medical use only). Even within the Republican universe, there are significant differences between conservatives (37% support both) and moderates (60%).
“Still, wide majorities of Republicans in all age groups favor legalizing marijuana for medical use. Even among Republicans 65 and older, just 17% say marijuana use should not be legal even for medical purposes,” says Pew Research Center analyst Ted Van Green.
The Pew survey was conducted October 10 – 16, 2022 among more than 5,000 adult Americans. More on the survey results can be found here.
A slightly earlier USA Today/Ipsos poll conducted October 7-9, 2022 revealed 72% of Americans support changing how federal law classifies marijuana so it is no longer legally considered a Schedule I substance at a federal level.
In the USA, recreational marijuana is legal in 21 states, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and D.C. 37 states and D.C. have laws permitting marijuana for medical use, as do Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.