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Pew: Broad Public Support For Legalizing Medical Marijuana

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director April 5, 2010

    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.

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

    68 Responses to “Pew: Broad Public Support For Legalizing Medical Marijuana”

    1. Rick says:

      It’s coming. I hope this is causing McCaffery and Walters heartache

    2. Tommy says:

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

    3. I swell with pride..... says:

      Suffice to say ladies and gentlemen that victory is soon at hand.

    4. Yoni says:

      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!

    5. Ed says:

      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.

    6. 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.

    7. Matt Buompensiero says:

      So change the word from “legalize” to “regulate” and see what happens to the pull #’s.

      Could saw a few % of these fools.

    8. Matt Buompensiero says:

      Edit: Could “sway” a few %. They are fools either way.

    9. Ben says:

      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.

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