Technically speaking, possession and the use of cannabis or marijuana is considered illegal under Federal U.S. law. But according to a new report by the Pew Research Center, an ever-growing number of states have legalized marijuana and the marijuana-related products you can purchase at a cannabis store, for both recreational and medical purposes.
The ever-changing legal landscape is said to be coinciding with major public support for marijuana legalization. Most Americans are said to now favor legalization. With this in mind, here are some facts behind marijuana consumption and legalization and in the U.S. in 2023.
Most Americans Want Marijuana Legalized
The stats show that nine-in-ten U.S. citizens believe marijuana needs to be legalized for recreational or medical use, or so claims an October 2022 Pew Research Center study. A great majority of American adults, or about 88 percent, believe either that marijuana should be considered legal for recreational and medical use (about 58 percent and 30 percent, respectively).
But only about one-in-ten believe cannabis products should not be legalized in any form. That one-in-ten statistic is said to have held steady since 2021.
The public’s support for legalizing marijuana is said to differ widely by political party, age, race, and ethnicity. Says the October 2022 survey, adults who are 75 and older are said to be far less likely than young adults to support legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes.
Only three-in-ten adults who are 75 or older state that marijuana should be legalized when compared with 53 percent of adults aged 65 to 74.
Democrats Are More Likely to Support Legalization
The study showed that Democratic-leaning independents and registered Democrats are more likely than GOP leaners and their Republican friends to support marijuana legalization for both medical and recreational use. 73 percent of Democrats will vote for legalization while 45 percent of Republicans will follow suit.
The majority of adult Blacks, or 68 percent, and adult Whites, or 60 percent, state that marijuana and cannabis products should be legalized for recreational and medical use when compared with smaller segments of Asian Americans, or 48 percent, and Hispanics, or 49 percent.
Opponents and Supporters Have Different Views of Marijuana
Opponents and supporters of legalized marijuana are said to have cited different reasons for their viewpoints, or claims a 2019 Gallup survey. U.S. citizens who favor legalizations are most likely to adhere to two important reasons: marijuana’s medical benefits (86 percent) and the notion that legalization of cannabis would free law enforcement officials to focus their attention on other varieties of serious crime (70 percent).
For Americans who remain opposed to marijuana legalization, 79 percent believe it will increase the number of serious vehicular accidents that involve motorists who use pot while driving. Another seven-in-ten, or 69 percent, stated their concern over marijuana acting as a gateway drug that would lead to more people getting hooked on stronger illegal drugs.
Support for Marijuana Legalization is Increasing
A recent Gallup survey found that support for marijuana legalization has increased by a large factor over the course of the past two decades. Besides asking specifically about the recreational and medical use of marihuana, the Pew Center also asked some U.S. citizens in general about its legalization.
As of 2019, two-thirds of U.S. adults showed support for legalized marijuana, which is said to be more than double the amount of Americans who favored it back in 2000.
Less Than Half of Americans Use Pot
According to a 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, fewer than half of U.S. adults or 46 percent admit to ever having used marijuana. This is far lower than those who admit to using alcohol, or 78 percent, and tobacco products, or 57 percent.
Still, while lots of Americans admit to having used marijuana or cannabis products in the past, many state that they no longer partake. As of 2021, 19 percent of U.S. adults admit to using pot during the past year, and another 13 percent admit to having used it during the past month.
Most Americans Want to See Easing Penalties for Marijuana Convictions
States the Pew Center in their 2022 survey, most Americans find that they support the easing of marijuana convictions. Another two-thirds would like to see convicts released from prison who were charged with marijuana-related offenses. 41 percent of those surveyed are said to strongly favor prison releases. At the same time, around six-in-ten adults, or 61 percent, would support the expunging or removal of marijuana-related offense from convicted people’s permanent criminal records.