Cannabis is still illegal under federal law and in the recent years a growing number of states have legalized it for medical or recreational purposes. This changing legal landscape has earned public support for legalizations over the years, which is favored by most Americans.
Here are some facts about Americans and Cannabis:
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, around nine-in-ten American adults say that cannabis should be legal. Out of the surveyed adults, 60% are in favor of medical and recreational use, 31% favors medical use only, while 8% are not in favor of legalization in any form.
According to the Pew Research Center survey, older adults are far less likely to support cannabis legalization compared to the younger generation. For example, from the surveyed population, 32% of adults (75 years and older) say cannabis should be legalized for both medical and recreational use. On the other hand, 7 out of 10 adults under the age of 30 are in favor of legalization for medical and recreational use.
According to a 2019 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, Cannabis use is lower than that of alcohol consumption (80%), or ever used tobacco products (61%).
While numerous Americans say that they have ever used cannabis, far fewer are current users. According to the same survey, 18% of adults say that they have used cannabis over the past year, while only 11% say that they have used it over the past month.
According to a survey conducted by Gallup, those who support legalizing cannabis believe the medical benefits are apparent, and by legalizing it that would free up law enforcement to focus on other types of crime.
On the other hand, the Americans who oppose cannabis legalization say that an important reason is that it would increase the number of car accidents involving drivers who use cannabis. Approximately 7 out of 10 Americans say that legalization would lead more people to stronger and more addictive drugs stating that cannabis is the gateway drug.
Aside from asking about the medical and recreational use of cannabis, Pew Research’s general inquiry about the legalization of cannabis shared that two-thirds of adults expressed support for cannabis legalization, doubling from their 2000 survey. (Pew Research 2019)
The spring of 2021 has seen New Mexico, New York and Virginia as the most recent states that have approved Cannabis for recreational use for adults. Overall, 43% of US adults are now in states that have legalized the recreational use of cannabis.
36 states, as well as D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands have approved some form of legalization on medical cannabis. Also, numerous states have laws enacted to reduce criminal penalties for certain convictions related to cannabis or allowing past convictions to be expunged.
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