New Poll Finds 60 Percent of Americans Back Federal Cannabis Legalization

A new survey of American voters shows that 60 percent support the idea of federal cannabis legalization, something the U.S. Congress has talked about more in recent years but have failed to accomplish.

Morning Consult and Politico produced the new cannabis survey, which showed that about three of every five adults in the United States supports legalization and wants to end the federal prohibition that’s been in effect for decades.

“The Senate left Washington for the campaign season without acting on legislation that would end the federal prohibition on marijuana, leaving what a new Morning Consult/Politico survey shows to be a popular policy proposal on the table ahead of the midterm elections,” the Morning Consult wrote.

Federal Cannabis Support Strongest Among Democrats, Young Voters

The survey found the strongest support came from those who identified as Democrats (71 percent),  independents (61 percent) and those younger than 65. The support by age broke out this way: 18 to 34 (69 percent), 35-44 (71 percent), and 45-64 (59 percent).

Among Republicans, 47 percent supported legalization, while 45 percent of those over the age of 65 did the same.

The survey also broke out respondents by race. The highest support came from Black respondents (72 percent), followed by Hispanic (67 percent) and white (59 percent) respondents.

Where Federal Legalization Stands in the U.S.

As the country gets closer to the midterm elections, Congress has decided to leave the issue of legalization alone until after the election. In addition to deciding on hundreds of congressional races, voters in five states – Arkansas, South Dakota, Missouri, Maryland and North Dakota – will also decide on whether to legalize recreational marijuana in their state.

In 2020, voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota approved legalization. However, the South Dakota vote got thrown out by the courts. Gov. Kristi Noem supported the lawsuit brought against the referendum results.

In April 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives, which currently has a majority of Democrats, approved a marijuana legalization bill mostly along party lines.  However, in the U.S. Senate, the measure likely does not have strong enough support to overcome the Senate filibuster rules (which essentially requires 60 votes to approve legislation).

And, as pointed out by Morning Consult, federal marijuana legalization is not a front-and-center issue in all races. For example, Senate nominee John Fetterman has championed the issue in Pennsylvania. But others have minimized it, choosing to instead focus on issues such as abortion rights, the economy and public safety.

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