Close this search box.
Subtotal: $0.00
No products in the cart.

Growing Support: Most Americans Back Marijuana Legalization for Both Medical and Recreational Use

Marijuana reform is no longer one of the country’s most polarizing topics, nor is it one of the hot-button topics that tends to get voters to hit the polls. However, growing support for medicinal and recreational marijuana use in America may be changing that. There is growing support from Americans of all walks of life backing marijuana reform. With the issue growing in acceptance and popularity since the first states “experimented” with recreational legalization in 2012, politicians are getting in on the action and attempting to capitalize on the marijuana movement.

From “hippie drug” to the bane of the American drug war to the darling of the medical and recreational reform movement, marijuana is experiencing something of a resurgence in the public mind and consciousness.

New Data Shows Continued American Support for Marijuana Legalization

In a new Pew Research Center poll, the majority of Americans continue to favor legalizing medicinal and recreational marijuana for adult use. According to the poll, 57 percent of people surveyed say marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use, and 32 percent say it should be legal for medical use only. Only 11 percent of adults say marijuana should not be legal at any level.

Additional data from a recent study reveals that more than half of Americans think that legalizing recreational marijuana is good for local economies, and 42 percent say that legalizing recreational weed makes the criminal justice system fairer. Unsurprisingly, those who identify as Democrats or Independents skew toward the more positive aspects of marijuana legalization and support. In contrast, those identifying as Republicans are more likely to cite the downsides of legalizing the substance, although two-thirds of Republican voters support cannabis policy reform at the federal level, according to one new study.

The results of the Pew survey show little change from a previous Pew Research Center poll in 2022 that also suggested 88 percent of U.S. adults say recreational or medicinal marijuana should be legalized in all 50 states. Other variables also show little sign of movement, indicating older adults and Republican-leaning individuals are less likely to support the legalization movement than younger, more liberal adults.

Although the results of these two surveys show relatively little change in adult attitudes toward marijuana legalization, support for marijuana reform has increased significantly over the past two decades. In a 2019 Pew Research Center poll, two-thirds of adults said they supported marijuana legalization for medical or recreational use. That was more than double the number of people who favored legalization in a 2000 Gallup survey.

Part of the growing trend in support for marijuana reform may be linked to state efforts to legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis. What was once viewed as an “experiment” by states like Colorado and Washington has proven to be a resounding success for local economies and researchers. There is now more data than ever to support the medicinal benefits of cannabis for specific health conditions like epilepsy, insomnia, and chronic pain.

Universities and respected medical facilities like the University of Colorado Boulder and Children’s Hospital Colorado are leading the research charge. Since legalization, these institutions and others have helped legitimize and publicize the benefits of medicinal marijuana, potentially leading to more public education and acceptance of the substance once deemed only for “hippies.”

Some Politicians Are Catching On

If you grew up in the 1980s, chances are you were the target of a political movement designed to curb drug use among young people and get you to Just Say No to Drugs! Times are changing, and so are some public and political attitudes toward marijuana. Since the 1960s and into the 1980s, Republican politicians like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan took a tough stance on marijuana and other drugs, declaring a “war on drugs” in America. In a somewhat stunning political move undercut by other hot-button topics, President Joe Biden became the first sitting president to address marijuana reform during the State of the Union address to Congress earlier this year.

Vice President Kamala Harris has also taken time to address marijuana reform, recently reiterating President Biden’s stance that “nobody should have to go to jail for smoking weed.” Politicians have almost always struggled to get young people excited and out to the polls to vote. For his 2024 re-election campaign, President Biden is only viewed favorably by 31 percent of people between 18 and 29. The key to his re-election may be the young demographic, a demographic that seems concerned with marijuana policy.

The recent Pew Research Center poll shows that young Americans view marijuana reform much more favorably than older adults. Politicians looking to energize young voters are realizing that marijuana legalization is an essential issue for young voters. This realization may be partially responsible for Democrats’ push to get the Drug Enforcement Administration to accept the U.S. Health and Human Services recommendation to reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I illegal substance to a Schedule III substance.

Democrats in both the House and the Senate have made numerous attempts to push cannabis reform in the form of the SAFE Banking Act and other legislative measures, only to be shot down by conservative Republicans. Reminding young voters this November that Democrats tend to favor marijuana reform over their Republican counterparts may be part of a broader strategy to galvanize young voters and get them to turn out to the polls, bolstering state and national candidates who support cannabis reform.

While the President wields exceptional influence and power, the Executive Branch can only do so much and still needs the cooperation and support of Congress to pass meaningful reform measures. It is something to consider when deciding whether to take the time to vote or sit this one out and let your voice go unheard. Consider again the Pew Research Center poll. If those in favor of marijuana legalization voted for candidates supporting that position, federal legalization could be a whole lot closer to becoming a reality than we think.

Find more news at Cannabutter Digest. We curate everything marijuana-related, including newsrecipes, and product reviews for cannabis enthusiasts.

  • No products in the cart.