Shocking number of Americans think weed should be illegal

american weed approval

Attitudes about cannabis have been trending up for some time. Past has shown that more Americans are willing to try medical cannabis than ever. More recently, Pew Research Center revealed that most people in the country are in for some form of legalization.

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The new news on cannabis legalization

Pew Research Center polled almost 10,000 bi-partisan Americans from various backgrounds, genders, and ages about cannabis legalization. Questions probed thoughts on whether cannabis should be available medically or recreationally, the impact it has on local economies, and more. Respondents were offered a gift card after filling out the survey. What data analysts found is that Americans are siding with weed in droves, and opposition continues to shrink.

Results regarding legalization were particularly promising. According to this data, six in 10 Americans believe cannabis should be legal for adult use and medical patients (57 percent). One-third of Americans believe medical legalization is enough and recreational isn’t necessary. Only 11 percent of people in the U.S. believe cannabis should be illegal in all forms–that’s an 89 percent approval rating.

Other findings from the Pew marijuana study

The survey also highlighted the stark difference in how young and old view the plant. 71 percent of those aged 18 to 29 favored full legalization and saw it as good for the local economy. In comparison, 50 percent of those aged 65 to 74 believe in full legalization, and about one-third of seniors believe weed can help the economy.

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When it comes to whether cannabis is a gateway drug, 39 percent of seniors believe legal weed leads to more fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin use. Meanwhile, almost half of those under 30 believe that legalization decreases the use of other drugs.

Widening weed approval may be due in part to the proliferation of the legal market; there are now almost 15,000 cannabis dispensaries in the U.S., according to a February Pew report. With 74 percent of Americans living in a state with recreational or medical cannabis, it’s no surprise the tides are turning in weed approval.

People gain access to regulated weed products with legalization, but the move makes even more impact. According to the most recent Pew Research, most Americans believe that legalization has a positive influence.

Cara Wietstock is senior content producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.