More than two-thirds of Americans support the proposal made by President Joe Biden to grant marijuana pardons for those convicted in the past with federal cannabis charges. The survey also found continued high levels of support for federal legalization.
Biden made the proposal recently, asking the Justice Department to set up a program that would result in pardons for those convicted in the past with a federal charge. The White House estimates the marijuana pardons could impact about 6,000 to 7,000 people. Biden also ordered a review of marijuana’s Schedule I illegal drug status.
The survey, conducted by Monmouth University in New Jersey, found that 69 percent of Americans supported Biden’s marijuana pardons.
“Polling from a variety of sources shows that support for marijuana legalization has been increasing consistently over the past twenty years. Biden’s action is in line with how the vast majority of Americans feel about this issue,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a news release.
Americans See Marijuana Posing Less Danger Than Alcohol, Tobacco
The Monmouth University survey also found that 68 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization for small amounts for personal use. That idea wins support from people across the political spectrum, including 76 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of independents and 52 percent of Republicans.
While support is highest among younger people, the survey also found that 53 percent of those 55 and older also supported making possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use legal. Support levels also proved consistent among respondents of different races and parental status.
The survey found that 54 percent of Americans believe alcohol use is more dangerous than marijuana, while 45 percent said the same about tobacco products. Only 7 percent of respondents believe cannabis is more dangerous than alcohol, while only 13 percent think it is more dangerous than cigarettes or cigars.
Changing Attitudes Toward Marijuana Use
Signs of a change in attitude among Americans toward marijuana have become more common in the past few years. For example, a Gallup survey earlier in 2022 found that more Americans use cannabis than tobacco.
In the Monmouth Survey, 54 percent of respondents said they have tried marijuana, and that level is fairly consistent. The percentage of those saying they have tried cannabis stayed close to the same whether the respondent was a Republican (51 percent), Democrat (54 percent), or independent (56 percent).
Monmouth also highlighted the least surprising result from the survey: “People with personal experience using marijuana (86 percent) are more supportive of its legalization than those who have never tried it (47 percent) – although nearly half of this latter group still falls on the side of legalization.”