Majority of Americans think marijuana should be legal for adults and is less harmful than alcohol for the user and society; nationwide legalization seen as inevitable
A poll released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center showed that for the second year in a row, a majority of Americans — 54 percent — support making marijuana legal. This represents a two percent increase in support from 2013. Only 42 percent support keeping marijuana illegal.
Three-quarters of those polled think that the sale and use of marijuana will eventually be legal nationwide.
The poll also revealed that 69 percent of respondents see alcohol as more harmful to individual health than marijuana, and 63 percent think alcohol is more dangerous to society.
Pew’s nationwide survey of 1,821 adults was conducted February 14-23. Detailed survey results are available at http://www.people-press.org/2014/04/02/americas-new-drug-policy-landscape/.
Voters in Alaska will decide on a ballot initiative in the August primary that would tax and regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia are currently considering bills to do the same.
“It is good to know that despite the DEA’s best efforts the American people are getting scientifically accurate information about marijuana, and the fact that it is objectively less harmful than alcohol to both individual health and society at large,” said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “The increase in support since last year’s poll shows that more and more Americans understand it’s simply bad public policy to steer adults toward alcohol by punishing those who prefer marijuana as a less harmful alternative.
“Now that three-quarters of Americans understand taxing and regulating marijuana is inevitable, the writing is on the wall,” Riffle said. “Congress needs to read it and move forward with legislation allowing states to choose more effective policies without federal interference.”