For 2/3 of Americans, weed consumption is expected to be legal, reflecting a steady increase in this figure over the past decade, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.
Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of American adults (91%) say that cannabis should be legal for medical and recreational use (59%), or medical use only (32%). Fewer than one in ten (8%) prefer to keep it illegal in all circumstances, according to the September 3-15 survey of the American Trends Panel at the Pew Research Center.
Wide partisan gap in opinions about legalizing cannabis use
As in the past, there are significant partisan and generational differences in views on the legalization of cannabis. Nearly eight in ten (78%) Independent Democrats say that marijuana use should be legal. While Republicans and Republican supporters are less in favor of legalization, with 55% in favor of legalization and 44% against.
Basically,the majority of people born between 1981 and 1997, Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) say that the use of weed should be legal. Members of the silent generation (born between 1928 and 1945) continue to be the least supportive of legalization: only 35% support the legalization of marijuana, while 64% oppose it.
The generational gap on legalization exists within the coalitions of both parties. The large majorities of baby boomers (81%), Generation X (76%) and millennial Democrats (78%) say that its use should be made legal, compared to 53% of the silent generation Democrats who say this.
Members of the Republican Silent Generation Party are the least likely to support legalization: Only 21% say that marijuana use should be legal, while three-quarters (76%) say it should not be.
9/ 10 Americans support legalization
In addition to asking respondents whether cannabis use should be legal in general, the Centre asked a separate group of respondents for their position on legalizing weed for medical and recreational purposes. Nearly six in ten Americans (59%) support legalization for medical and recreational purposes, while 32% say it should be legal for medical purposes only. Only 8% say it should not be legal.
About two-thirds of Democrats (68%) say that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational purposes, compared to 49% of Republicans. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say that it should be legal only for medical purposes (38% versus 28%) or that it should not be legal at all (12% versus 4%).
Young adults are slightly more likely than older adults to claim that cannabis use should be legal for medical and recreational purposes. About two-thirds (69%) of people aged 18 to 29 say it should be legal for both types of use, compared to 48% of people aged 65 and over. However, most adults aged 65 and over are in favor of some form of legalization.
Public support for legal cannabis has increased as more states legalize it for medical or recreational purposes.
District of Columbia
11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized weed for recreational use
Meanwhile, 33 states – plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands – have legalized for medical purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Marijuana remains illegal under U.S. federal law. However, several Democratic presidential candidates have made proposals to legalize or decriminalize cannabis use.