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Clear Majority of Americans Want Marijuana States to Operate Free from Federal Interference

A high majority of Americans support states being able to pass and implement their own marijuana policies without interference from the federal government.

A new survey shows that three out of four Americans believe individual states should be able to make their own laws governing the use and sale of marijuana.

A nationwide Survey USA poll, commissioned by Marijuana Majority, found that 76 percent of Americans want states to operate free from federal government interference. Only 14 percent said that the Trump administration should intervene.

Federally, marijuana is prohibited and classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. However, 29 U.S. states have passed laws to implement their own medical marijuana programs, and eight states have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Medical marijuana states are currently protected from federal interference due to the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents the use of federal funds to interfere in states passing or implementing medical marijuana policies. Congress recently renewed the amendment through September.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions requested in May that Congress eliminate medical marijuana protections so that the Justice Department would be free to go after states that have passed or implemented medical marijuana policies. The survey’s findings indicate that an attempt by the federal government to interfere would be an unpopular move.

The survey found that support for letting states decide whether to legalize marijuana was found to hold up across all party affiliations, age groups and races. Still, support for marijuana states was higher among younger adults and Democrats. Seventy-two percent of those aged 65 years and older support state’s implementing their own marijuana laws, compared to 81 percent of those between 18 to 34 years. Eighty percent of Democrats were in support, up from 72 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Independents. Even 56 percent of those who classified themselves as “very conservative” support leaving states alone.

“It’s clear that Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration would face a huge backlash from across the political spectrum if they broke the president’s campaign pledge to respect state marijuana policies and started arresting consumers and providers who are following local law,” said Tom Angell, founder and chairman of Marijuana Majority. “The more the attorney general threatens to ramp up federal enforcement, the more public opinion seems to harden against his outdated ‘Reefer Madness’ mindset.”

While most professional athletes are prohibited from using marijuana by their respective organizations, 46 percent of Americans believe athletes should be permitted to use marijuana if it is legal in their state, according to the survey. Fifty percent believe journalists who live in a state where marijuana is legal should be allowed to consume the substance, despite it being prohibited by their employers.

The SurveyUSA poll surveyed 1,500 American adults between June 19-20 using cell-phone and landline calls. You can read the survey’s full results here.

Learn more about medical and recreational cannabis laws in the U.S. by visiting our education page. Keep up with the growing legal cannabis industry through our news feed.