According to a new poll, more than 90 percent of Americans now think marijuana in some form should be legal, and nearly two-thirds say they support legalizing both medicinal and recreational use.
Less than one in ten – or 8 percent – said marijuana shouldn’t be legal for use, according to the study conducted by Pew Research Center
The poll was done just weeks after Virginia and New York became the last states to take steps to legalize marijuana.
The Democrat-controlled Congress is also considering legislation that would legalize marijuana nationally.
The latest Pew poll shows that majorities in all age groups – with the exception of those 75 and older – believe that marijuana should be legal for both medicinal and recreational use.
There was also broad consensus along racial and political lines. Whites (63 percent) and blacks (65 percent) were an overwhelming supporter of legalization for both recreational and medicinal use.
According to a new survey, more than 90 percent of Americans now believe marijuana in some form should be legal, and nearly two-thirds say they support legalizing both medicinal and recreational use.
The latest Pew poll shows that majorities in all age groups – except those 75 and older – believe that marijuana should be legal for both medicinal and recreational use
There also seems to be a generation gap on the matter. According to the survey, Republicans over the age of 65 are much less likely to support legalization for both medicinal and recreational use
Only 29 percent of whites surveyed and 26 percent of African Americans surveyed said only medical marijuana should be allowed.
Hispanics (52 percent) and Asians (43 percent) supported legalization for both medicinal and recreational purposes, but at smaller rates.
Both groups supported legal medical marijuana in large numbers – 35 percent among Hispanics and 46 percent among Asians.
Only 12 percent of Hispanics and 8 percent of Asians believe that marijuana should not be legal in any form.
Democrats and Republicans both support legalization, although supporters of the GOP support it in smaller numbers.
Of those who call themselves Republicans or Republican leanings, 47 percent support legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana. Only 40 percent say it should be legal for medicinal purposes only.
Of Democrats and Democratic voters, 72 percent believe it should be legal for both medicinal and recreational use; 23 percent say it should only be legal for medicinal use; and 5 percent said it shouldn’t be legal at all.
There also seems to be a generation gap on the matter. According to the survey, Republicans over the age of 65 are much less likely to support legalization for both medicinal and recreational use.
Among Democrats, enthusiasm for legalization also diminishes as the age group gets older.
A New Yorker is seen smoking over a joint in the Washington Square Park area of Manhattan on April 3. New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana use last month.
Nearly 80 percent of Democrats between the ages of 18 and 29 are in favor of legalizing marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use, while 64 percent of Democrats over the age of 65 say the same.
Earlier this month, Virginia became the 16th state in the nation and the first southern state to legalize recreational marijuana, when lawmakers voted to pass Governor Ralph Northam’s proposed amendments to a bill that will allow adults to consume small amounts of the drug. to own and cultivate, starting in July.
Northam sent the bill back to lawmakers, changed substantially from the version that squeaked out of the General Assembly in February.
The changes approved by lawmakers this month would accelerate the timeline of legalization by about three years, well before retail would begin, a move welcomed by advocates of racial justice.
Starting July 1, Virginians can legally grow up to four cannabis plants and own up to one ounce.
The bill was passed with a vote of 53-44 in the House and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax broke a vote of 21-20 in the Senate to pass it, without support from Republicans.
Northam said the state has “made history as the first state in the South to legalize marijuana possession.”
“Marijuana laws are explicitly designed to target communities of color, and black Virginians are disproportionately likely to be stopped, charged and convicted,” he said.
Northam proposed a bill in February that would legalize recreational weed by 2024, but pushed for a speeding up of the timeline in an effort to “ restore justice to those who have been harmed by decades of excessive criminalization. ”
“Today, Virginia has taken a critical step to rectify this injustice and restore justice to those who have been harmed by decades of over-criminalization.”
Regulated sales will begin in January 2024 to give the state time to license recreational retailers, and the state’s current medical dispensaries cannot immediately begin selling to all adults, unlike other states.
The state plans to use tax revenues from marijuana sales to fund health initiatives, such as addiction treatment programs, along with preschool education.
So far, 34 states and Washington DC have legalized marijuana in some form, including recreational use, medical use, and sale
Gov. Ralph Northam (seen above in October) announced earlier this month that Virginia is making history as the first state in the south to legalize marijuana
When regulated sales begin, the current bill will impose a 21 percent excise tax on marijuana. Retailers can add an additional 3 percent tax on top of the existing sales tax.
A 2020 study According to the governor’s office, tax revenue from marijuana in the state could gross up to $ 274 million. The legal industry could bring in between $ 698 million and $ 1.2 billion in economic activity annually.
In addition to the financial benefits to the state, Governor Northam wanted to raise the date of legalization in an effort to stop punishing people for possessing a drug that would soon be legal.
Democratic House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn applauded the plan in a statement saying, “ With the Governor’s amendments, we will have made huge strides in ending black and brown Virginians’ attacks by through selective enforcement of the marijuana supply by this summer. . ‘
Virginia law allows people charged with marijuana-related crimes and those who have graduated from historically black colleges and universities to be given priority when the state begins licensing.
“ Legalization will end the thousands of low-level marijuana offenses that occur annually … end a discriminatory practice that far too often targets young, poor and colored Virgins, ” said Jenn Michelle Pedini of NORML, a lobbyist of a national group for legalization of cannabis products.
Virginia joins several other states, including New York and New Jersey, to pass similar measures, but is the first state to do so in the socially and politically conservative South of the US.
In 2019, New York softened some criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana and launched a lawsuit to automatically scrap the records of thousands of individuals convicted of low-level crimes.
Last month, New York lawmakers reached a deal to legalize recreational marijuana after Cuomo called it his “ top priority ” under tax plans expected to bring in more than $ 350 million annually.
With Virginia legislation, 16 states and Washington DC have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and 34 states have relaxed marijuana laws in various ways, with legalization and decriminalization of medical marijuana elsewhere.