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Most Americans support cannabis legalization for medical, recreational use: Pew

Story at a glance


  • A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 88 percent of American adults think cannabis should be legal for medical or recreational use.


  • Since 2012, 24 states have legalized cannabis for either medical or recreational purposes.


  • Pew found that while most people think cannabis should be legal, opinions vary on what the consequences of that legalization are.


Most Americans — 88 percent — think cannabis should be legal for medical or recreational use, according to a recently published Pew Research Center survey.

Close to six out of 10 Americans believe marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational purposes, while about a third think that cannabis should only be legal for medical use.

Meanwhile, 11 percent of Americans think the drug should not be legal at all.

While the majority of Americans think cannabis should be legal in some form, they differ in opinions on the consequences of legalization.

About half of Americans — 52 percent — think legalizing recreational cannabis is good for local economies, while 29 percent think it will have no impact and 17 percent think it is bad.

Almost half of adults — 42 percent — think legalizing marijuana for recreational use makes the criminal justice system more fair, according to the 5,140-person survey.

Another 38 percent of Americans think it has no impact on the fairness of the criminal justice system, while 18 percent think it makes the system less fair.

About 30 percent of Americans think legalizing cannabis for recreational use increases the use of other drugs like heroin, fentanyl and cocaine.

Meanwhile, 27 percent think it decreases the use of those drugs and 42 percent think it has no impact on other drug use, according to the survey.

Almost half of Americans — 44 percent — don’t think recreational cannabis legalization has an impact on community safety, while 34 percent think it makes communities less safe and 21 percent believe it makes them safer.

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