Nearly 60 percent of Americans Want Cannabis Legalized, New Poll Shows

October 13, 2016

With several states set to vote on cannabis related bills in November, support for legalization of cannabis is higher than ever.

The Pew Research Center found that 57 percent of U.S. adults now think that cannabis use should be legal in a study that surveyed 1,201 U.S. adults; 37 percent of American adults responded that cannabis should be illegal. The results released on Wednesday show that American sentiment on cannabis legalization has practically reversed. Ten years ago only 32 percent of U.S. adults supported legalization and 60 percent wanted cannabis to be illegal.


About two dozen states legally permit its citizens to use cannabis in some form. In June, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 523 that legalized medical cannabis. Having passed the Ohio Medical cannabis Control Program (MMCP) into law, Ohio has become the 25th state (in addition to the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico) to allow cannabis use in some form.

Nine states are set to vote on allowing use of cannabis for medical or recreational purposes next month. Voters in Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California will vote on whether recreational use of cannabis will be legalized. Legal medical use of cannabis for certain conditions will be decided in Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota.

Overall, political party members differ in opinion on cannabis legalization. The study found that 66 percent of Democrats support cannabis legalization and 30 percent want it to be illegal. Fifty-five percent (55%) of Republicans want cannabis to be illegal, while only 41 percent support legalization.

Wednesday's study also found that a small majority of Hispanic Americans do not support cannabis legalization. Forty-six (46 percent) of Hispanics favor legalizing cannabis; 49 percent say it should be illegal.

The majority of both white and black people surveyed (59 percent each) support legalizing cannabis.


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