To reach that conclusion, Quinnipiac polled 1,561 registered voters across the U.S. between May 24-30.
54 percent of Americans responded “yes” to the statement, “marijuana should be made legal in the United States,” while 41 percent responded “no.” Men support pot legalization slightly more than women; 60 percent “yes” to 37 percent “no” for men, and 48 percent “yes” and 46 percent “no” for women.
And while Americans in general seem to support marijuana legalization, there are still some segments of society that remain firmly opposed to legalizing pot. Specifically, poll respondents who identify as Republicans still oppose legalizing cannabis, with 37 percent in favor versus 62 percent opposed. Similarly, voters over age 65 oppose legalization by a margin of 37 percent “yes” to 57 percent “no.” White women also oppose pot legalization, at a razor-thin margin of 48 percent to 47 percent (the poll’s margin of error is 2.5 percent).
— Extract (@ExtractCannabis) May 27, 2016
And while Americans support full marijuana legalization with no questions asked by a small majority, Americans are even more supportive of pot legalization under certain conditions.
For example, when asked if marijuana should be legal with a doctor’s prescription — so-called “medical marijuana” — Americans are all but unanimous: 87 percent support medical marijuana, 9 percent oppose. And as to the specific question of whether or not veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) should be allowed to use pot, Americans are in favor 82 percent to 13 percent.
Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said that Americans’ support for marijuana for veterans shows that the notion that cannabis can treat PTSD is not a myth.
“If you serve your country and suffer for it, you deserve every health remedy available, including medical marijuana in pill form. That is the full-throated recommendation of Americans across the demographic spectrum, including voters in military households. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is debilitating and life-threatening. The response from voters should take political considerations out of the debate and allow doctors to do what’s best for veterans.”
— Daily Intelligencer (@intelligencer) June 6, 2016
The results of the poll also prove that Americans’ attitudes towards cannabis have changed dramatically even across the past few decades.
“The fact that a majority of American voters favors legalizing marijuana in general shows how attitudes about the drug have changed.”
As of this writing, four states (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska) and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and 24 other states have legalized marijuana for medical use, with varying degrees of restrictions. Meanwhile, at least 12 other states, including Florida, Maine, and Missouri, are considering legalizing pot for medical or recreational use.
Still, marijuana remains illegal as a matter of federal law. That means that all of those medical and recreational dispensaries throughout the country are technically operating illegally. However, in 2013, according to Rolling Stone, the Obama administration announced that the feds will not interfere with marijuana distribution efforts in states where it is legal.
However, all of that could change in January, 2017, when a new President takes over the Oval Office, although whether or not that will happen remains to be seen. According to an April 20 Huffington Post report, likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton appears to be poised to continue the Obama administration’s policy of looking the other way at state pot legalization, while likely Republican nominee Donald Trump’s position on the matter seems to change by the day. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson supports fully legalizing marijuana at the federal level.
Do you agree with the majority of Americans that marijuana should be legalized?
[Image via Shutterstock/Pe3k]