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New Poll Shows Two-Thirds of Americans Support Legalizing Weed

A poll on Monday found that more than half of Americans favor legalizing small amounts cannabis for personal consumption. The new Monmouth University poll also showed broad support for President Joseph Biden’s recent executive order to pardon federal convictions for low-level marijuana possession and found that most Americans believe that cannabis is safer than alcohol.

“Polling from a variety of sources shows that support for marijuana legalization has been increasing consistently over the past twenty years,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

According to the poll, 68% support legalizing personal marijuana use. The legalization of cannabis was supported 76% by Democrats, 73% by independent voters, and 52% respectively. With 87% support from those younger than 35, legalization was supported by the majority of people. Only 53%) support legalization among those 55 years and older. 

Two-Thirds Support Biden’s Pardons

The Monmouth poll also showed strong support for Biden’s announcement on October 6 that he would pardon federal convictions for simple marijuana possession, with 69% of all respondents saying that they backed the president’s move.

“Biden’s action is in line with how the vast majority of Americans feel about this issue,” Murray said.

Most people were not clear about the meaning of pardons. Analysis by The New York TimesIt was determined that pardons would affect approximately 6,500 persons who have been convicted of marijuana possession in violation of federal law. There are thousands more District of Columbians. One quarter (25%), thought that the pardons would affect less than 1,000 convictions while another fifth (21%%) believed it to be more than 10,000. 26 percent believed the total number of pardons was between 1,000 and 10,000, with 29% denying this estimate.

54 percent of Americans believe legalization of marijuana won’t have any impact on other drug-related crimes. 25 percent believed that legalizing cannabis would lead to an increase in other drug-related crimes. 16%, however, said other drug-related crimes will drop as a consequence of legalizing cannabis.

The majority of people believe that alcohol is more dangerous than weeping.

54 percent of respondents said alcohol was more harmful than marijuana, while only 7 percent said it is safer to use cannabis. 38% stated that both substances were equally as dangerous. The majority (45%) of those surveyed thought that pot is more safe than tobacco. Only 13% of respondents said that marijuana is more harmful than tobacco, while 38% stated they are equally hazardous.

Over half (54%), 51% (Republicans), and 56% (66%) of American adults have tried cannabis. 87% of Americans who tried marijuana had a positive experience. Only 47% (or less) of all those without personal cannabis use were against legalization.

Brian Vicente, founding partner of the cannabis and psychedelics law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP, believes that the strong support for marijuana legalization revealed by the new poll is likely to be reflected in next month’s midterm elections, when five states will be voting to legalize adult-use cannabis.

 “This poll is a milestone in cannabis policy, with a stunning 68% of Americans now supporting legalization. Importantly, we now have a majority of both major political parties and a broad swath of Americans regardless of age now supporting reform,” Vicente wrote in an email to Chronic News

“This research, combined with the overwhelmingly positive response to President Biden’s recent actions to pardon marijuana convictions is creating the most energized climate around cannabis reform that our country has seen in a decade,” he added. “This climate is likely to contribute to another 4 or 5 states legalizing cannabis on November 8th. All these factors will provide a boost to cannabis reformers in DC, which makes significant federal reform a real possibility this year.”

Monmouth University Poll was conducted over the phone with 808 adult respondents in the United States from October 13-17, 2022. Results are subject to a margin error of +/– 5.2 percentage points.