A new poll has shown that the majority of Americans believe marijuana should become legal, while only a small number of Americans believe it should remain illegal at federal level.
Recreational cannabis use is currently legal in 19 states. However, many states still have laws banning the drug’s use, and the federal government still lists cannabis as a Schedule I drug, in spite of President Joe Biden’s campaign promise to remove it from that list.
Recreational cannabis was a $15 billion industry last yearIt was legalized in all 50 states, which showed that it could be an economic boon for the entire country. But beyond the economic benefits, the legalization of marijuana would mean the lessening of unnecessary drug convictions, which steal years of people’s lives and tear families apart; such convictions especially impact people of color, who are disproportionately targeted by police in the enforcement of drug laws.
According to an Economist/YouGov poll published this weekMost Americans would be happy for marijuana to be legalized. According to the poll, only 28 percent of Americans want the drug to remain illegal at the federal level. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans (58%) believe that it should be legal for recreational use.
That support transcends all ages, with those between 18 and 29 years old showing the most support for legalization (65%). Those ages 30-44 aren’t far behind, with 63 percent backing legalization efforts for marijuana, and a majority (59 percent) of 45-64 year olds saying that the drug should be legal. The poll found that 47 percent of people over 65 support legalization of cannabis. This is a majority of the respondents.
More than two-thirds (68%) of Democrats believed that marijuana should become legal. Most independents (61%) agreed. Republicans were split on the matter, with 43 percent saying that marijuana should be legal and 44 percent saying that it shouldn’t be.
The only demographic, other than self-identified conservatives that had a significant support for legalization (greater than the margin error in the poll), was the voters who backed Donald Trump in 2020’s presidential election. Among those voters, 48 percent said they wanted to keep marijuana illegal — yet a significant portion (39 percent, or nearly two in five Trump voters) agreed that the drug should be fully legalized.
The poll asked Americans whether they supported the idea of pardoning cannabis-related nonviolent offenses. The majority of respondents said they would support this move, with 65% saying that people with such convictions should be pardoned and only 23% opposing it.
President Joe Biden promised to decriminalize cannabisOn the campaign trail. He has yet to honor that pledge and has pardoned very few nonviolent offenders. This has done very little to promote legalization efforts.
This is the spring of this years. The House of Representatives approved a bill to end prohibition on cannabis. Due to the Senate’s filibuster rule, however, that bill had little chance, if any, of passing in the upper chamber.
Earlier this month, a group of lawmakers — including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) — lauded pardons that Biden granted to nine people who had been convicted for nonviolent drug crimes. However, Biden was urged by the lawmakers to do more. They asked him to issue a blanket Pardon that would allow thousands to be freed from such offenses.
“Much more has to be done to address the racist and harmful legacy of cannabis policies on Black and Brown communities,” The lawmakers made a joint statementRecognizing the inequities in the enforcement and enforcement of unrelated drug laws.