Welcome to the marijuana majority. After decades of criminalization, persecution, and fear-mongering, the tides of public opinion have turned, with a majority of Americans now voicing support for both medical and adult-use cannabis legalization.
In a new survey from Harris Poll in collaboration with Health Day, researchers surveyed over 2,000 American adults, with 85% of respondents saying that they believe marijuana should be legalized for medicinal use, and 57% backing legal recreational use.
"Voters believe that ending America's failed marijuana prohibition laws is a common sense issue, not a partisan one," Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML said.
The latest poll corroborates a number of studies from the past few years showing overwhelming advocacy for marijuana law reform. Earlier this year, a Gallup survey reported that 65% of Americans considered recreational pot use "morally acceptable." In a separate poll from the Center for American Progress, researchers found a whopping 70% support for total legalization.
In addition to changing opinions on the social acceptability of lighting up a joint, more than half of the Harris Poll respondents said that they believed medical marijuana legalization would lead to a decrease in opioid deaths. Those sentiments are echoed by a number of studies from legal weed states showing a decrease in opioid-related casualties.
Still, while state-level activist groups and lawmakers have had incredible success in altering local laws, federal legislators have continuously rejected comprehensive prohibition reform measures, clearly ignoring the will of their constituents.
"It's time for their elected officials to take a similar posture, and to move expeditiously to amend federal law in a manner that comports with public and scientific consensus, as well as with marijuana's rapidly changing cultural and legal status," Armentano told Health Day.
Of the 15% of respondents who did not wish to see marijuana legalized in any form or fashion, more than two thirds said that they worried that legal weed would get into the "wrong hands," and be ingested by children or pets. Similar skepticism has met cannabis reform measures in states around the country, but pot-legalization data continually shows that teen weed use actually decreases in places with regulated pot markets.
Broken down by age, the Harris Poll data shows 67-68% support for all forms of legalization from adults aged 18-44, with backing for recreational reform only dropping below 50% for those aged 65 and older.
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