People wait in line at the Essence cannabis dispensary, Saturday, July 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. Nevada is the latest state where a voter-approved initiative legalized the sale of recreational marijuana. Americans across the country approve of legalization in greater numbers than ever. (John Locher, Associated Press)

Public support for medical and recreational marijuana legalization hits all-time high

Latest numbers from Quinnipiac University Poll also show little support for a federal crackdown in states that have legalized cannabis

An increasing number of Americans are in favor of national legalization of recreational and medical marijuana, and few support a federal crackdown in states that have legalized marijuana for either purpose.

A new Quinnipiac poll released August 3 reported that medical marijuana in particular has broad support: 94 percent of Americans support “allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it,” up from 93 percent 5 months ago, and up 5 points in the last year.

Non-medicinal marijuana is growing in support as well, with 61 percent agreeing that “the use of marijuana should be made legal in the United States,” up from 59 percent in February 2017, and up 10 points since December 2012.

In his letters to governors of states that have legalized recreational marijuana last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited “our country’s concerns with marijuana” as something said “federal and state governments should work together to address.”

But only 20 percent of Americans surveyed by Quinnipiac support “government enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana.” This is down from 23 percent in February, the first time the enforcement action question was asked.

The age group most in favor of legalization is 35-49 year-olds, 77 percent of whom support national legalization, and medical marijuana at 97 percent. Only 42 percent of those 65 and older support general legalization, but 92 percent of this age group supports medical marijuana.

A political party line divide on the issue continues, with only 37 percent of Republicans supporting legalization, while 70 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of Independents support it.

90 percent of Republicans support allowing medical marijuana however, up 5 points from February, and up 9 points from June 2016.

84 percent of Democrats oppose enforcement of federal laws in states where marijuana has been legalized, while 59 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Independents oppose such a move.

The poll was conducted with 1,125 voters via landlines and cell phones from July 27 – August 1, with a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points.


Break-out of responses by age, party, gender, college degree

Full survey available at poll.qu.edu
DK/NA = Don’t know/No answer

Do you think that the use of marijuana should be made legal in the United States, or not?

                                           
              Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Women 
Yes           61%    37%    70%    67%    64%    59%
No            33     58     23     29     32     34 
DK/NA          5      5      7      4      4      7
 
              AGE IN YRS..............    RACE 
              18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    White  Non-white
Yes           71%    77%    56%    42%    60%    65%
No            21     21     38     52     35     29
DK/NA          7      3      6      7     5      6
 
                 Yes     No     DK/NA
Aug 03, 2017     61      33      5
Apr 20, 2017     60      34      6
Feb 23, 2017     59      36      5
Jun 06, 2016     54      41      5
Dec 05, 2012     51      44      5


Do you support or oppose allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it?

                                                     
           Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Women
Support    94%    90%    95%    96%    95%    94%
Oppose     4      7      4      3      5      4  
DK/NA      1      2      1      1      -      2  
 
           AGE IN YRS..............    RACE
           18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    White  NonWhite
Support    93%    97%    96%    92%    95%    93%
Oppose      5      3      4      5     4      6
DK/NA       2      -      -      3     1      1
 
                Supp    Opp     DK/NA 
Aug 03, 2017    94       4       1
Apr 20, 2017    94       5       1
Feb 23, 2017    93       6       1
Jun 06, 2016    89       9       2

Would you support or oppose the government enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana?

                                                        White w/ 
                                                        College Degree
              Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
Support       20%    34%    14%    18%    23%    17%    17%    24%
Oppose        75     59     84     77     73     77     78     70
DK/NA          5      8      2      5      4      6      5      6
 
               AGE IN YRS..............    RACE 
               18-34  35-49  50-64  65+    White  Non-white
Support        21%    13%    20%    26%    21%    18%
Oppose         75     83     78     63     74     79
DK/NA           4      3      1     11     6      3
 

                     Supp    Opp     DK/NA 
Aug 03, 2017         20      75       5
Apr 20, 2017         21      73       6
Feb 23, 2017         23      71       6

Watch: U.S. Rep Jared Polis talking about national legalization