New Survey Finds Americans Support Marijuana Legalization By Huge Margin

A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds that 88 percent of the American people support legalization of both recreational and medical marijuana. Only 10 percent said they feel cannabis should not be legal.

The survey noted that past opinion polls have not always separated medical and recreational marijuana when determining support of legalization. The new survey reports that 59 percent of Americans support legalization for both recreational and medical marijuana, while an additional 30 percent support legalization for medical use only.

The survey noted that “over the long term, there has been a steep rise in public support for marijuana legalization.” However, it uncovered some interesting differences, mostly based on the person’s age.

Support is Strongest Among Young Americans

The survey found considerable differences in support for legalization based on the age of the person surveyed, especially among those over the age of 75.

Only 30 percent of those 75 and older support both recreational and medical legalization. The percentage of those in other age groups who support both recreational and medical legalization include the following.

  • Ages 18 to 29 (72 percent)
  • Ages 30 to 49 (62 percent)
  • Ages 50 to 64 (54 percent)
  • Ages 65 to 74 (53 percent)

It’s interesting to note that members of the Baby Boom generation that made using marijuana more popular than any generation before them now offer less support for legalization than Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. Past studies have also shown that younger generations increasingly accept cannabis use as part of mainstream culture.

Differences by Political Party

As with most surveys, the Pew Research Center study found differences in levels of support for marijuana legalization based on the respondent’s political party affiliation.

Overall, 45 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents favor both medical and recreational marijuana legalization. Another 39 percent support medical marijuana legalization.

Those numbers are much bigger with Democrats, with 73 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents supporting both medical and recreational legalization. An additional 21 percent support legalization for medical use only.

However, this study delved more deeply into differences within the parties than most previous studies. Researchers found that 60 percent of moderate Republicans support legalization for medical and recreational marijuana, while only 37 percent of conservative Republicans did the same.

Younger Republicans – ages 18 to 29 – also supported legalization at a higher rate (62 percent) than older Republicans – 41 percent of 50 to 64 year olds and 38 percent of 65 to 74 year olds.

Those same divisions – although a bit less dramatic – are present among Democrats, as well. About 63 percent of conservative Democrats support legalization for both medical and recreational use, while 84 percent of liberal Democrats say the same.

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