Pew: Broad Public Support For Legalizing Medical Marijuana

No fooling. On Friday, April 1st the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released a report looking at both public support for medicinal access to cannabis as well as the larger issue of legalization. 602-1
The results of the Pew survey confirm previous NORML reports about the overall popularity of cannabis law reform despite 73-years of cannabis prohibition:
-Strong and undeniable public support now exists nationwide for medical patients having access to cannabis;
-A fast growing plurality of Americans now support outright legalization of cannabis

With a growing number of states moving to legalize medical marijuana, nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) say they favor their state allowing the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes if it is prescribed by a doctor, while 23% are opposed. Support for legalizing medical marijuana spans all major political and demographic groups, and is equally high in states that have and have not already passed laws on this issue.
There are public concerns about legalizing medical marijuana. For example, 45% say they would be very or somewhat concerned if a store that sold medical marijuana opened near other stores in their area. And roughly the same percentage (46%) says allowing medical marijuana makes it easier for people to get marijuana even if they don’t have a real medical need – though just 26% of Americans say this is something that concerns them. These concerns are highest among opponents of legalizing medical marijuana, but are no higher or lower in states that already allow marijuana for medical purposes.
Far more Americans favor allowing marijuana for prescribed medical purposes than support a general legalization of marijuana. But the proportion who thinks the use of marijuana should be legal has continued to rise over the past two decades.
The most recent national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted March 10-14 among 1,500 adults on landlines and cell phones, finds that 41% of the public thinks the use of marijuana should be made legal while 52% do not. In 2008, 35% said it should be legal and 57% said the use of marijuana should not be legal, according to data from the General Social Survey. Twenty years ago, only 16% of the public said the use of marijuana should be legal and 81% said it should not be legal.Far more Americans favor allowing marijuana for prescribed medical purposes than support a general legalization of marijuana. But the proportion who thinks the use of marijuana should be legal has continued to rise over the past two decades.


Read entire report and view the numerous survey charts with cross tabulations here.

0 thoughts

  1. leagalize it for med patients who it can do some good for i know many sick people who gain relief from smoking pot

  2. To me, the biggest insult our politicians commit is not the outright prohibition of marijuana, despite public opinion.
    It is the fact that they so out-rightly REFUSE to even consider it. To make it easier for universities and laboratories to study the effects of Marijuana. They don’t even want to allow the POSSIBILITY that science may support marijuana legalization. That they won’t even CONSIDER removing marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, even though it clearly is not.
    They don’t want to take an unbiased approach. They just simply want to close their eyes and hope it goes away.
    I don’t support legalization. I don’t want any drug to be legalized unless fully understood. And the fact that politicians don’t even want to seek the truth about marijuana is not only wrong but insulting. If anything has medicinal potentialities,it should be explored immediately. Not ignored.
    And this is the biggest insult out politicians commit. They hide behind antiquated “reefer madness” propaganda. DO YOUR FREAKING JOBS!

  3. Thank god that people are coming to their senses now. Our entire laws and culture is dependent on the social undertow of the moment. We need that final push into the point of no return, and it might actually be happening soon.

  4. While I was on chemo therapy,in 2003,my body weight went from 120lbs. to 98lbs.I couldn’t eat or keep food down.I toked and I was able to hold my food down.I encourage the legalization of marijuana,for medicinal purposes,also for personal use.

  5. So change the word from “legalize” to “regulate” and see what happens to the pull #’s.
    Could saw a few % of these fools.

  6. National legalization remains several years away, but it is quite clearly coming. Time is on our side, demographics are on our side. Every day, more elderly reefer-madness folks die out, and more 18-year-olds come of age in a better informed era.

  7. no one knows if legalization of any kind is goin to happen sooner or later. ive been contacting my reps like 2 times a month or when something comes up in the news about taxing something dumb or if the news talks about the deficit. but i really hope its soon because 2010 has been way too stressful. i wish more people will get more active. my next attempt will be news papers, basically all types of media. im mean,i will print copies of facts, medical pot leaves and stick them everywhere i can .

  8. There is more to consider here than just pot– like the way our youth sees the government. I grew up in the 90s, and, mostly because of things like cannabis prohibition, I have a strongly-rooted distrust of our government. Growing up I quickly became accustomed to the idea that out government would tell even the most obvious lies to get what it wants and that its agenda has absolutely nothing to do with logic or the people’s wants and needs. I am ashamed to say I am from the United States, and I fully believe that our form of democracy is the root of all evil. What good is a representative democracy when the only things being represented are ignorance, blind religious faith, and financial loyalties? A single lie– like any one of those used to justify marijuana prohibition– is enough to invalidate for our youth the entire value of our system of government and way of life. We are not a dictatorship; patriotic support is not a given and should not be expected but earned. How many more revolutionaries will it take before this plant is legal, and will it be too late to protect what our forefathers intended to create so long ago?

  9. The one thing that always causes me great concern is the “Not in *my* backyard” syndrome. People are all for helping the poor, the sick, and the down trodden; just as long as it is out of sight, out of mind. The same thing always seems to apply to any “drug” trade in the US. In states that have “bottle stores” you’ll see an interesting trend in how they are usually located in low rent districts etc. But it is okay to have Walgreens and CVS scattered about like so many convenience stores? Disturbing.
    My personal experiences from talking with the pre-baby boomer crowd are amusing in that context. They still seem to think you’ll have opium dens and people infesting public parks for a place to “zone out” etc. They cannot seem to get it into their heads that they have dealt with people using cannabis and other substances on a constant basis throughout their lives all around them, at every walk of life already. Hardly anyone tries to live out an existence of living at Woodstock 24/7.
    How the media is conveying the situations in Colorado and California’s medical dispensaries is concerning on that front. So far, that generation just points to the circus being made of the crime surrounding these operations and saying, “See! Exactly what you can expect if it were legal. Depraved dope fiends always will be in control and it will spread throughout the community.”
    I’m not certain how that thinking can be persuaded to go away. Prejudice of any type seems to run in their blood. I for one am counting on the other 80% of the population to come up with the majority vote.
    I’m also still concerned about a large chunk of the DARE generation that is still confused by the imprinting that was done to them. Maybe too many of them took the X-files approach and simply “want to believe” the fiction they were told. It’s not too late to get them on board I would think. If the baby boomers are any sign of how it is possible to make this change happen at least, I have hope these kids can be swayed as well.

  10. Yoni #4: If you support the drug war in any form you obviously don’t fully understand the current situation at all…

  11. You should see the things their side is saying. Check out the garbage being spewed on this site:
    I really like this one:
    Recent work indicates that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol promotes tumor growth by inhibiting certain anti-tumor immunity
    Source: L. Iversen, EBSCO 2003

  12. Full out legalization, period. The medical end of it is all well and fine but let’s legalize it so it helps PREVENT future physical ailments. And the plant, despite obstacles to prevent research, has had credible research done. Enough with the delays.

  13. I was offerd a job at Safeway and expected the Saliva test that I was prepared to pass with flying colors. The girl giving me the test did not let the stick collect enough saliva so she said the test was invalid. She then did a second test that she screwed up again. I couldnt believe it. She then stated that I would have to go down and take an actual unrinalysis within 24 hrs. I knew I would not pass, I should not have to take a different test than the other potential employess just because the person giving the test screwed up. Of course I turned down the job. This whole thing leaves me feeling very hopeless, I would have been a excellent employee.

  14. If you wanna drink you drink. If you wanna smoke in some states you get arrested if you are caught. Why is one worse than the other? People have passed away from drinking. I have never heard of anyone who has died directly from marijuana use. LEGALIZE IT

  15. howz it going fellow herb appreciators. I have dabbled myself within some fantastic flowers.I watched them grow from seeds to the beautiful day of cutting the stem.Lets plant these plants.

  16. Cannabis is a harmless herb that should be legalized, we need to stop throwing our tax money down the drain on law enforcement and jailing non violent offenders. If anything we should only ticket someone with pot not send them to jail, because in the long run this only hurt Americans who pay tax’s. Lets do the right thing and legalize it already.

  17. Yoni: Cannabis has been rigorously tested over several thousand years, both medicinally and recreationally. I’ve been testing it extensively myself over the last 35 years!

  18. someone take this study to Obama, ask him if he can make an educated guess if marijuana will EVER be legal in the USA and then once he says YES, tell him to quit wasting our time and money on Prohibition.

  19. Land of the free… yet we can’t smoke a substance safer than alcohol and tobacco? The people want medical marijuana legalized, so just legalize it already, damn. Isn’t this country supposed to be FOR the people?

  20. you would think more politicans would run pro mmj since its such a unifying topic

  21. I agree with Yoni. Marijuana is a dangerous drug, anyone who has NEVER smoked it will tell you that.
    Honestly, how are we going to progress as a society if people can’t even admit “Okay, we were wrong, it really isn’t that bad.” Even worse is how beneficial and medicinal it is.
    Instead of going to a doctor for a cough, I’d much rather just puff on a joint a few times and let time wash away any irregularities in my immune system. I just seriously can’t believe this issue is still being debated..

  22. I Use Illegal Marijuana For Not Only Recreational Uses (I <3s Tweeds), But Also Medicinally. It Calms My A.D.H.D Down, It Relieves My Anger Stemming From Bi-Polar Disorder, It Alleviates The Chronic Anxiety I Suffer, It Brings Down My Chronic Pain From Not Only Arthritis, But Also From A Torn Bicep Tendon. Those Are Just A Few Of The Reasons I Personally Poke Smot…These Archaic Politicians Honestly Need To Pull Their Respective Heads Out Of Their Gluteus Maximi. Marijuana Is BY FAR Safer Than Alcohol, Meth, Coke, Opiates, And Pretty Much Every Other Intoxicant Out There…I For One Cannot Wait For Legalization. Whether It Be Medicinally, Or Recreationally…Because Either Way Its Good For Me

  23. I don’t mean to be picky, well yes I do I guess. Did this happen on Friday or Thursday because the opening witty comment is wrong. Good Article though 😉

  24. lol #4 why dont you support freedom
    i dont think cannabis should be regulated it should be totally ignored by our govt, govt has no need to use cannabis, it is for people.
    and people supposedly in america are free right??
    NOT SO
    seriously are you that dumb that when left to your own devices you can not controll yourself with out govt. telling you if its safe or legal?
    what if the law required you to report o i dont know say the family who was holding ann frank to the nazi just because to do other wise would be illegal

  25. Paula Jean Fritts, starvation while on chemo killed my father….so ya…these politicians are heartless crooks to me. That attitude wont change til they do as Americans tell them to do…on ALL fronts.

  26. the powerful institutions that support the evil drug war on us all will not give up without violent resistance.
    think gestapo

  27. #4
    what do you do to keep your brain’s cannabinoid receptors humming?
    something to consider:
    cannabis use as a health remedy goes back to ancient times.
    prohibition and punishment are a vicious policy in action.

  28. It boggles my mind that this is such a non debatable issue in washington, when almost half of the population wants it to be legal. I could understand marijuana being illegal if 80 percent of the population wanted it to be illegal, but 52%? WTF! 52% of the population can lock up the rest? This is the horror of total democracy at work. It’s the tyranny of the simple majority. I guess that I should calm down and give it some time, though. In the next 10 years, 6% of that 52% could die off and be replaced by people for marijuana legalization. By then, hopefully, the government will make the wise decision. Still, i weep for the last casualties of the war on pot in the same way i’d weep for anybody who died in the last year of vietnam, or any war for that matter.

  29. As Bob Dylan wrote in his song “The times they are a changing”. I hope prohibition of cannabis is lifted soon. I would love to be able to have my own garden of beautiful cannabis. I would plant at least five varieties. Oh what a wonderful dream. Please help make my dream come true!

  30. f the system, we pay their salary for them to tell us what we can and cannot do, the cops have the best weed, leave the people be free. I LIFE TO LIVE, A FEW TOKES AND THEY WOULD AGREE,To bad they have to worry about a weed that God put here for us to enjoy. no wonder we are broke, the government does not know where to put our money, they waste more than ever on their parties, drinking and driving, explain to me how are they better than we the people who pay them. I say legalize th weed already……..

  31. Like Jed the Head, I enjoy a variety of types of cannabis. Seedlings are growing in my small garden…one fat-leaf Afghani is already a foot tall. They grow easily and for the cost of water and soil, yet some people would gladly pay hundreds an ounce for the bud. How silly that is. How incredibly silly this war on a non-toxic plant is.
    Unfortunately, I have to be ready to pull them at any time, but in the years that they’ve been able to mature, I’ve had from an ounce or two, to nearly a year’s supply of good to great smoke for free. That’s the way it should be in a truly free country…and that’s the way it will be soon for anyone who cares to grow their own.

  32. Hell on earth or heaven on earth? If we stop those few who wish to rule in hell , we could all serve in heaven.

  33. Let’s use our words to create good results. Some words of wisdom from an ancient text, advising us “To be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.”
    If our goal is to get attention or to vent our anger, namecalling and profanity will probably do the trick. If our goal is to win people over to our thinking, people with kids, people who are trying to decide which way they will vote when this issue comes to their town, we might want to present ourselves as the voice of credibility and amiability. Let’s be the kind of people that the undecided voters will want to work with. Venting and swearing is probably not the way to win over the voting public. Let’s win their hearts with our good works and our good words.

  34. Some words of wisdom from an ancient text, advising us “To be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.”
    If our goal is to get attention or to vent our anger, then nanme calling and profanity will probably do the trick. If our goal is to win people over to our thinking, people with kids, people who are trying to decide which way they will vote when this issue comes to their town, we might want to present ourselves as the voice of credibility and amiability. Let’s be the kind of people that the undecided voters will want to work with. Venting and swearing is probably not the way to win over the voting public. Let’s win their hearts with our good works and our good words.

  35. These polls can sway back and forth and usually it’s because the other side (marijuana prohibitionist) will contrive a story or two that makes a person re-think their position. In California I believe the prohibitionists are smart enough not to go the Harry Anslinger way but they will appeal to the pocket books of California voters by claiming it will further cause our states economy to decay. Actually I became aware of the prohibitionist strategy yesterday when I read a report from John H. Richardson of Esquire mag:
    We need to be prepared to respond with hard data that will deflate their doomsdays predictions.

  36. The U.S. needs to control legal cannabis worldwide, starting with Afghanistan for the quid pro quo.
    In the meantime, the U.S. has few options:
    1. Deny Karzai a visit to the White House: symbolically a useless gesture.
    2. Threaten an accelerated withdrawal of U.S. forces: I thought our mission was to capture Bin Laden and eradicate Al Qaeda’s command structure and its Taliban supporters.
    3. Demand a quid pro quo for the billions propping up his regime: time to put strings on those reconstruction funds.
    4. Ignore Karzai as much as possible and forge ahead till our withdrawal deadline while hammering Al Qaeda and Taliban supporters: the Afghani people deserve more than being abandoned to the likes of the Taliban. The U.S. abandoned the Afghani people once before to the likes of the Taliban and look where it got us and them.

  37. You’ll notice on the legalization statistics, that of the age range of 18-29, a majority (58%) were in favor of legalization, while in the age bracket of 65+, a much lower number (22%) were in favor. This clearly shows the older generation who have been brainwashed by the years of anti cannabis propaganda were swayed in their opinion based on nothing more than what they have been told by media and government sponsored anti-cannabis advertisements. I would LOVE for a study to dig further into the reasoning behind people are for or against legalization. I would say in 99% of those cases, the person’s only knowledge of cannabis comes from the skewed “facts” portrayed on media, not from personal research or experience.
    It’s down right sickening.

  38. #11 I am with you! I’m in the process of creating “fun fact” sheets about the benefits of both legalizing marijuana and using it. I plan on dropping off stacks of these to book stores, grocery stores, anywhere I think I can legally leave free information. To me, this is one of the best ways to insure that the right and correct information gets circulated, rather than media hype and more “reefer madness” type propaganda. PEOPLE! If we ALL take part in this, we can really get some information to people who never before would have thought about the idea of legalizing. Even if most of what we sent out ended up getting tossed away, SOMEBODY would read it, learn it, and remember it. That person would then spread the idea. It’s worth it, and it’s not that difficult to do. Just use recycled paper!!! WE CAN DO THIS!!! THIS IS WITHIN OUR POWER!!!

  39. It should be made legal to grow and taxed per plant much like when fishing after obtaining a fishing license.

  40. #10: i agree. after all the screaming and shouting, it is going to end up being a generational thing. i hope you are wrong about the time frame, though

  41. #36 Jed: Indoor or outdoor? I have a little stoner fantasy about friends coming over with a sampling of their homegrown….sit and talk about botony. Well, that is one of my stoner fantasies. Another is micro-grows (like micro-brews) where you can go and enjoy that grow’s strain(s). they would also have munchies.
    anyway, i am out of here, have a great day

  42. I have been around drugs my whole adult life. I have liberal views on Pot use but what I am concerned with is if legal younger and younger children are going to have access and with the stregnth of todays Pot out young minds are going to get fried.

  43. #48 – Rick
    Cool ideas. However, my fantasy is to have a cannabis farm of about 2-3 acres. I would develop and grow my own specialty strains, have kif tastings, and sell all kinds of pipes and accessories. I would walk through the rows of my gardens wearing overalls. Of course, I would take buds right off the plant and fil all my specially designed pockets with the flowers and let them cure. Of course, I would keep some ready-to-smoke in one of the pockets to keep my corn cob filled with.

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