A new Pew Research Center poll has found that a majority of those in the United States support legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes.
According to the poll, 53% of Americans support legalizing cannabis, with 44% opposed. As recently as 2006, just 32% supported cannabis legalization, while nearly twice as many (60%) were opposed.
“Millennials (currently 18-34) have been in the forefront of this change: 68% favor legalizing marijuana use, by far the highest percentage of any age cohort”, according to a Tuesday press release. “But across all generations –except for the Silent Generation (ages 70-87) – support for legalization has risen sharply over the past decade.”
The survey found that; “The most frequently cited reasons for supporting the legalization of marijuana are its medicinal benefits (41%) and the belief that marijuana is no worse than other drugs (36%) –with many explicitly mentioning that they think it is no more dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes.”
Others said they support legalizing due to the benefits of regulation such as tax revenue (27%), the high cost of enforcement (12%), and personal freedom (9%).
The most common reason people opposed legalization was the perceived health risks of cannabis (73% say it hurts society/is bad for people, or that it’s a dangerous, addictive drug). 11% oppose legalization because they believe cannabis is a gateway drug, and 8% say it’s bad for young people.
The full poll results can be found by clicking here.