Majority of People in US in Favor of Cannabis
According to a report released Friday by the Pew Research Center, around 61% of Americans are now in favor of marijuana legalization, nearly double what it was in 2000 (31%). The news comes as little surprise, considering 29 states and the District of Columbia now permit the use cannabis for medical and/or recreational purposes. This comes in spite of acting Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently calling for a crackdown in legal states.
As is typically the case, support varied along generational lines. Millennials (70%), Gen Xers (66%) and Baby Boomers (56%) say the use of marijuana should be legal. Only among the Silent Generation does a greater share oppose (58%) than favor (35%). This enforces the assumption that as time passes, and younger people are elected into government positions, support will continue to grow.
Opinions on Marijuana Mixed Between Political Parties
Support was divided along party lines, with nearly 69% of Democrats saying cannabis should be legal, as do 65% of Independents. By contrast, just 43% of Republicans favor marijuana legalization - 55% are opposed.
However, there were stark contrasts among Republicans and right-leaning Independents generationally. Conservatives under age 40 favor legalizing marijuana use, 62% to 38%. Republicans ages 40 to 64 are divided (48% say it should be legal, 49% illegal), while those 65 and older oppose legalization by more than two-to-one (67% to 30%). 79% of Democrats and left-leaning Independents under the age of 40 favor legalization while 70% of those aged 40-64 do. Older Democrats are split, with around 50% in support.
News Comes as 55 Millions Americans Admit to Smoking Pot
The Pew Center findings appear to correlate with the growing number of Americans who have reported using cannabis in both the past and present. A poll conducted in early 2017 by Marist College, in conjunction with Yahoo News, found that more people are smoking pot than ever before. Researchers found that 55 million Americans - or 22% of the population - currently use cannabis. The survey defines “current use” as having used marijuana at least once or twice in the past year. Close to 35 million are what the survey calls “regular users,” or people who use marijuana at least once or twice a month.
With the majority of Americans now supporting legalization, it is assumed that current efforts across the country will consider to succeed. Grand View Research projects the global medical marijuana market to be worth nearly $55 billion by 2025. Between the staggering amount of money the plant could bring in - and the incredible medical benefits - it should only be a matter of time before every state in the union says yes.