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Majority of Americans Believe Recreational Marijuana Should Be Legal, New Poll Finds

A new poll by Quinnipiac University has found that 54 percent of registered voters in the U.S. support legalization of adult use marijuana. Americans were found to more heavily support legal access to cannabis for medicinal purposes, as 89 percent of those surveyed responded in approval of medical marijuana legislation. More than half of American registered voters say that marijuana should be made legal throughout the United States, according to a new poll by Quinnipiac University. Fifty four percent responded that “marijuana should be made legal in the United States” without any qualifications, while 41 percent of voters responded that it should not be made legal. “The fact that a majority of American voters favors legalizing marijuana in general shows how attitudes about the drug have changed,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a press release. Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D, directed the poll, in which 1,561 registered voters were surveyed between May 24-30 via calls on landlines and cell phones. The survey discovered that attitude on marijuana legislation was correlated to a voter’s political party. Sixty-five percent of Democrats responded in support of adult use legalization, compared to 36 percent of Republicans. Independent voters backed legislation at 61 percent. The poll also identified a gender gap in marijuana legalization opinions, as men were found to support legalization at 60 percent, compared to 48 percent of women. Adult use marijuana is currently legal in AlaskaWashingtonOregonColorado and the District of Columbia, and several more have decriminalized certain amounts of marijuana possession. Up to a dozen states, including California, will be voting on marijuana legalization measures this fall. In regards to medical marijuana, the Quinnipiac poll found that American voters are in even stronger support of legal access to cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Overall, 89 percent of voters responded in favor of allowing medical marijuana. As of now, 25 states have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana programs. Ohio was the most recent state to pass legislation, as just this month Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a bill that legalized medical marijuana for over 20 different conditions. The Quinnipiac University poll also found that 87 percent of American voters believe that the U.S. Veterans Administration doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Studies have found that cannabis helps PTSD patients manage symptoms. Cannabinoids are able to block the continuous retrieval of the traumatic event. “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,” said Malloy. Support was even stronger in military households, where 82 percent of voters believed veterans with PTSD should have access to cannabis. Among every political party, gender, age, or racial group of those surveyed, support was 79 percent or higher.   Military personnel have long been prohibited from consuming any cannabis products. However, U.S. lawmakers recently gave VA physicians permission to discuss medical marijuana with veterans. Additionally, the Drug Enforcement Administration recently gave the go-ahead for the first-ever clinical study to examine cannabis’ effects on PTSD. The poll’s findings are another indication that public opinions about marijuana are undergoing a rapid shift. In the first public opinion survey on marijuana legislation, completed by Gallup in 1969, just 12 percent of Americans were in favor of legalizing marijuana use.]]>