Public Opinion Polls On Marijuana Show Consistent Support For Legalization

A new poll reveals only one in five Americans view marijuana use as harmful, and 62 percent favor nationwide recreational cannabis legalization.

More than six out of ten American adults want federal cannabis prohibition to end, according to a new public opinion poll.

“A majority (62%) favors legalizing marijuana for recreational use by adults nationally,” the study’s authors wrote.

The results from the POLITICO and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health survey were released this week, adding to an ever-increasing amount of evidence that Americans want cannabis access. Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard, conducted the poll.

Blendon told POLITICO that 62 percent of support is “a huge leap from the 44 percent of Americans who thought legalization was a good idea in 2009.”

The new poll found that not only do most Americans favor cannabis legalization, but also the fear associated with anti-drug rhetoric, aka the DARE generation, is losing its hold. The report shows only 1 in 5 Americans believe cannabis is “very harmful” to those who use it.

“Ten years ago, we were jailing people for marijuana,” Blendon stated in a POLITICO report. “Now people see this as not essentially very harmful.”

While people in the U.S. are still being arrested for cannabis, the report shows American opinion on marijuana and marijuana products is evolving. Researchers found that marijuana for recreational use is viewed as less harmful to the people who use them than tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and alcohol.

The poll also revealed a widespread acceptance of cannabidiol (CBD) products.

According to the report, “more than half of American adults (54%) are familiar with CBD products, and one in seven adults (15%) say they use CBD products. Few U.S. adults who are familiar with CBD products believe they are very harmful to the people who use them (5%)”

While political party ties show a significant difference in support of cannabis, the same is not seen when it comes to CBD. According to the report, men, women, liberals, conservatives, Republicans, and Democrats all report CBD use at similar rates.

The survey was conducted Oct. 1-6 by landline and cell phone questionnaires on approximately 1,000 randomly selected U.S. adults.

Recreational Marijuana Key Points

The key takeaways of the recent POLITICO/Harvard survey when it comes to recreational marijuana include:

  • Of those who live in states with recreational marijuana legalization, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) say it has been positive, while 30 percent disagree.
  • Republican adults (45 percent) are the least likely to support federal legalization when compared to Democrats (67 percent) or Independents (69 percent).
  • Most respondents (56 percent) believe the rate of car accidents would remain about the same if federal legalization happened, while 33 percent believe car accidents would increase, and one in ten believe rates would go down.
  • More than two-thirds (69 percent) support limiting the sale of recreational cannabis to licensed stores.
  • More than half (53 percent) favor allowing a licensed store to sell recreational cannabis in their neighborhood, while 44 percent oppose it.
  • Two-thirds (66 percent) oppose allowing adults to consume marijuana in public spaces in their neighborhoods, compared to (32 percent) who would favor this approach.

CBD Key Points

The poll’s key findings around the support and acceptance of CBD products include:

  • More than half (54 percent) of American adults say they are “very” or “somewhat” familiar with CBD products.
  • Almost one in seven (15 percent) adults reported personal use of CBD products.
  • Younger adults report using more CBD than senior adults.
  • More people in the western part of the U.S. report using CBD than other regions.

More on Cannabis

The full POLITICO/Harvard report, “Americans Views on CBD Products & Marijuana for Recreational Use,” can be found, here.

The new POLITICO poll is consistent with results from other cannabis research surveys. Find the latest report on how cannabis is uniting the country and discover more about the latest in cannabis news through our news page.