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6 In 10 Americans Want Legal Marijuana: New Poll

Only a small portion of the country thinks the herb should remain federally illegal. Adult use is legal in 19 states

Buzzfeed

A new poll shows a majority of Americans believe Cannabis should be fully legal, reports Truthout. Only a small portion of the country thinks the herb should remain illegal on the federal level.

According to an Economist/YouGov poll published this week, most Americans would welcome the legalization of Cannabis. Just 28 percent of Americans want to keep the drug illegal at the federal level, according to the poll, while nearly 6 in 10 Americans (58 percent) say it should be legal.

Adult use of marijuana is already legal in 19 states. However, many states still have laws banning weed use, and the federal government still lists cannabis as a Schedule I drug.

Support Across All Age Groups

Support for legalization reaches across all age groups. People 18-29 years old show the most support for legalization, at 65 percent. Those ages 30-44 aren’t far behind, with 63 percent backing legal marijuana. A majority (59 percent) of 45-64 year olds say weed should be legal. Forty-seven percent of those over the age of 65 (a plurality of respondents in the poll) also back legalization.

Along partisan divides, more than two thirds (68 percent) of Democrats said that marijuana should be legal. Most independents (61 percent) agreed. More Republicans oppose legalization than support it. Among the GOP, 43 percent say marijuana should be legal and 44 percent say it shouldn’t be.

One of the only demographics (well, at least besides self-identified conservatives; no big surprise there) significantly opposing legalization (greater than the margin of error was Trump voters. Among those MAGAts, 48 percent said they wanted to keep marijuana illegal, damn their eyes. Only 39 percent said marijuana should be fully legalized.

Overwhelming Support For Pot Pardons

In addition to the question of legalization, the poll also asked whether Americans backed the idea of pardoning people with nonviolent cannabis-related offenses. Overwhelmingly, most said that they would support such a move. Sixty-five percent of those polled want pot convictions pardoned. Only 23 percent opposed the idea.

Adult-use cannabis was a $15 billion industry last year in the states where it was legal. That shows that it could be an economic boon for the entire country. But beyond the economic benefits, the legalization of ganja would mean the lessening of unnecessary drug convictions. Harsh sentences steal years of people’s lives and tear families apart; such convictions especially impact people of color. Studies have shown that police disproportionately target minorities in the enforcement of pot laws.

In the spring of this year, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would end the prohibition of marijuana. Due to the Senate’s filibuster rule, however, that never came to a vote in the upper chamber due to the opposition of Republicans.

“Much More Has To Be Done”

Earlier this month, a group of lawmakers — including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) — praised pardons that Biden granted nine people convicted for nonviolent drug crimes.

However, the lawmakers called on Biden to do more, urging him to issue a blanket pardon that would remove such offenses for thousands of Americans. 

“Much more has to be done to address the racist and harmful legacy of cannabis policies on Black and Brown communities,” read a joint statement. The lawmakers cited inequities in the enforcement of unnecessary drug laws.

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