Public support for marijuana legalization in the United States has rapidly increased over recent years. Despite federal laws prohibiting its use, nearly three-quarters of states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.

According to a January 2024 Pew Research Center survey, about nine in 10 Americans believe marijuana should be legal in some form, with 32% supporting its use for medical purposes only and 57% backing both medical and recreational use. Only 11% think it should remain illegal in all forms.

Here’s what Americans want for the future of cannabis.

See Also: Trump Vs. Biden — The President Plays The Marijuana Rescheduling Card, Voters Like The Thought Of It

Differences Across Demographics

Support for marijuana legalization varies widely among different demographic groups.

  • Youth: 71% of those under 30 support both medical and recreational use, compared to just 31% of those aged 75 and older.
  • Political affiliation: 72% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents support full legalization. Only 42% of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents agree.
  • Race/Ethnicity: 45% of Hispanic and Asian Americans support full legalization, compared to 65% of Black adults and 59% of White adults.

Expanding Legalization and Economic Impact

As of March 2024, 24 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use.

Fourteen states have approved it for medical use only.

Moreover, around 26 states and D.C. have at least partially decriminalized recreational marijuana use.

This legal expansion has led to more than half of Americans living in states where marijuana is legal for both purposes, and nearly eight in 10 residing in counties with at least one cannabis dispensary.

Opinions on the economic and social impacts of marijuana legalization are varied. Approximately 52% of adults believe that legalizing recreational marijuana benefits local economies, while 17% disagree, and 29% think it has no impact.

Views on the criminal justice system are split: 42% say legalization makes the system fairer, 18% believe it makes it less fair, and 38% see no effect. Additionally, community safety and drug use opinions vary, with many people believing that legalization has either a positive or neutral impact.

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