Support for marijuana reform among Americans is now at an all-time high, according to the latest poll from Quinnipiac University.
Public support for marijuana legalization in the United States is at an all-time high. A Quinnipiac University poll published August 3 found that 61 percent of American voters believe that adult use marijuana should be legalized, which is the highest percentage ever reported by the poll. Support for marijuana legalization was 59 percent in February 2017 and 51 percent in December 2012.
Medical marijuana has even greater support among Americans. The poll found that 94 percent of voters now support “allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it,” up from 93 percent since last February and 9 percent in 2012.
According to the poll, Americans between the ages of 35 and 49 years are most in favor of legalization, as 77 percent responded in favor of national legalization, and 97 percent supported medical marijuana. The age group most opposed to legalization is 65 years and older, with only 42 percent supporting adult use legalization. However, 92 percent of those 65 years and up support legal access to marijuana for medical purposes.
Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I substance under federal law, but 29 states have passed their own policies allowing for medical cannabis use and eight have gone a step further to legalize recreational marijuana.
Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote letters to governors of states that legalized recreational marijuana, arguing that “our country’s concerns with marijuana” are something that “federal and state governments should work together to address.” In May, he wrote a letter to congressional leaders requesting that medical marijuana protections be eliminated so that the Justice Department would be able to crack down on states that had passed their own medical cannabis laws.
Sessions’ position on cannabis is based on fear, not fact. The findings of the study indicate that Americans are not concerned about marijuana, and 75 percent of those surveyed said they oppose “government enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana.” A majority of every group polled, even Republicans at 59 percent, hold this position.
The survey is the latest indicating that Americans’ cultural attitudes toward legal cannabis use are changing at an incredible race. Market analysts have suggested that medical and recreational marijuana legalization could expand to all 50 U.S. states by 2021, and a recent poll from Gallup found that nearly half of Americans have tried cannabis at least once in their lives.
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey introduced wide-reaching legislation recently that would end federal prohibition on marijuana and encourage states to legalize the substance.
The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,125 voters using landline and cell phone calls between July 27-August 1. You can access the results of the entire poll here.