A Majority of American Voters Support Legalizing Marijuana

April 12,2017 | By Will Yakowicz

A new poll finds landslide support medical marijuana in general and for military veterans, but only 54 percent support legalization in general.

Almost all U.S. voters support medical marijuana if prescribed by a doctor, a new Quinnipiac University National poll finds.

The poll, which was released Monday, finds that 89 percent of U.S. voters support allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if prescribed by a doctor. Medical marijuana is a nonpartisan issue, the poll finds, with 81 percent of Republicans, 94 percent of Democrats, and 93 percent of Independent voters all say medical pot should be legal.

Such growing support bodes well for the industry despite its murky legal status in the U.S. Already 24 states and the District of Columbia have sanctioned some form of the plant's medicinal or recreational uses.

The poll also found that 87 percent U.S. voters believe that U.S. Veterans Administration doctors should be allowed to prescribe medical marijuana in pill form to veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in states where cannabis is legal.

When asked more generally, should the use of marijuana be made legal in the United States, 54 percent of voters said yes. Out of that group, 36 percent of Republicans support legalization (62 percent don't support legalization), 65 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Independents said "yes" to legalization. When it comes to men and women, they voted 60 percent and 48 percent in favor of legalization, respectively.

The Quinnipiac University Poll surveyed 1,561 registered voters nationwide between May 24-30, 2016 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Voter attitudes towards marijuana have changed dramatically over the years. Back in 1969, Gallup found only 12 percent of Americans surveyed favored legalization. In 2013, a Gallup poll found 58 percent of Americans support legalization.

The Quinnipiac voters' poll finds that the majority of eligible voters are pro pot for medical purposes and in general.

Tom Angell, the chair of pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority, says this newest poll goes to show that cannabis reform is a mainstream issue that is supported by most Americans. Angell says with up to 10 states voting on marijuana legalization at the ballot box this November, he expects to see more states to implement their own state-sanctioned industries.

"This is just the latest in a string of recent polls clearly showing that most voters support legalizing marijuana," Angell says. "These results and similar ones before them are exactly why, for the first time ever, every remaining presidential candidate has voiced support for letting states legalize marijuana without federal interference."

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