HomeNewsMajority Of Americans Live In A Legal Marijuana State

Majority Of Americans Live In A Legal Marijuana State

While marijuana remains illegal under US federal law at this point, most Americans are living in a state that has legalized it in some form according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

Way back in 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Today, 74% of Americans live in a state where marijuana is legal for either recreational or medical use says Pew, and more than half (54%) reside in states where the recreational use of marijuana is legal.

24 states and District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and another 14 states allow it for medical use only as at last month. As for the remaining 12 states, there is some legalized limited access to cannabis products; but these contain little to no levels of the intoxicating cannabinoid THC; such as CBD oil products.

The difference between medical marijuana and medicinal cannabis is down to THC levels. Medicinal cannabis is quite commonly classified as products with less than 0.3 per cent THC. Above that threshold and it’s considered medical marijuana.

The increasing legalisation of marijuana has been driven by public acceptance and advocacy for changes to laws. In an October 2022 Pew Research Center survey, 88% of U.S. adults said marijuana should be legal, either for recreational and medical use (59%) or for medical use only (30%).

As for businesses that sell cannabis products (known as dispensaries), there are close to 15,000 dispensaries in the USA says Pew, and 79% of Americans live in a county with at least one.

While California has far more dispensaries than any state – 3,659 at the time the analysis was carried out – Oklahoma ranks number one for marijuana dispensaries per capita: 36 dispensaries for every 100,000 residents. 76% of all dispensaries are in states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, while 23% are in medical marijuana-only states.

“In fact, two of the top five states with the largest number of dispensaries – Oklahoma and Florida – allow the drug for medical use only,” states Pew.

Pew notes that its analysis found concentrations of dispensaries near b orders between more and less permissive states.

“Overall, one in every five dispensaries in the U.S. is located within 20 miles of a state border. And 29% of these border dispensaries adjoin a neighboring state with less permissive cannabis laws.

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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