Pew Research: 88% of Americans Support Some Form of Cannabis Legalization

The latest Pew Research poll found that 88% of Americans support legalizing cannabis for either medical or adult use — 57% supported legalizing both forms of cannabis access and 32% supported only medical use.

Full story after the jump.

Nearly 90% of Americans believe cannabis should be legal for either medical or adult use, according to a Pew Research Center poll released on Tuesday. The poll found 57% support for both medical and adult use and 32% support for only medical use (88% net legal), with just 11% opposed to legalization of any kind.

The poll found 52% of respondents said adult-use legalization is “good” for local economies, with 29% saying it had “no impact” and 17% saying it is “bad.” Forty-two percent said it makes the criminal justice system “more fair,” with 38% believing it would have “no impact,” and 18% saying it would make it “less fair.”  

The majority of respondents (42%) polled rejected the gateway theory – that cannabis legalization leads to the use of hard drugs such as heroin and fentanyl – with 29% saying it would increase the use of hard drugs and 27% saying it would have the opposite effect. Another majority (44%) said cannabis legalization would have “no impact” on the overall safety of communities while 21% said the reforms would make communities “more safe,” and 34% said it would make them “less safe.”  

Democrats and Republicans were split between what they believed would be the potential ramifications of the reforms: Majorities of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said adult-use legalization would be good for local economies (64%) and would make the criminal justice system fairer (58%); while fewer Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said the reforms would have a positive effect on local economies (41%) and the criminal justice system (27%). 

Republicans were also more likely than Democrats to see downsides from broad cannabis legalization with 42% of Republicans believing it would increase the use of other drugs, compared with just 17% of Democrats; and 48% of Republicans saying it would make communities less safe, more than twice the number of Democrats (21%). 

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