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68% Of Adults — A Record High — Support Legalizing Marijuana

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Topline

For the second year in a row, a record-high majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana, according to a new Gallup poll, as more states have recently passed laws allowing the drug and a $17 billion industry has sprung up around it.

Key Facts

A record high of 68% of U.S. adults support the legalization of marijuana, according to the October survey of over 800 adults released Thursday.

That’s the same amount of people who were in favor of legalizing the drug last year.

The numbers are consistent with a Pew survey released in April that found 60% of U.S. adults believe medical and recreational use should be legal, 31% believe only medical use should be legal and 8% believe no form of use should be legal. 

Major political parties are still divided over the issue: While 84% of Democrats and 71% of Independents support legalization, only 50% of Republicans do, according to the Gallup report.

The increases in popularity and legalization have led to a booming marijuana industry, with sales of the drug amounting to $17.5 billion in 2020, up 46% from 2019.

Big Number

37. That’s how many states have legalized medical marijuana. Eighteen allow recreational use of the drug for residents over the age of 21.

Surprising Fact

Over 48.2 million people in the United States used marijuana in 2019, according to the CDC. It’s now the most commonly used drug behind alcohol and tobacco, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Key Background

States began passing laws to legalize the medical and recreational use of marijuana in 2012, and in 2013 a majority of Americans supported those initiatives for the first time. However, marijuana use is still illegal under federal law. Several large states recently passed laws allowing some form of use, including Virginia and New Mexico. After years of attempts, New York finally legalized recreational use of marijuana this spring. Dispensaries have yet to set up shop as the state finalizes details surrounding the law, and it’s estimated that it could become a $4.2 billion industry.

Further Reading

U.S. Cannabis Sales Hit Record $17.5 Billion As Americans Consume More Marijuana Than Ever Before (Forbes) 

Washington, D.C. May See Recreational Marijuana Sales Under New Budget Bill (Forbes) 

Inside Amazon’s Support To Legalize Marijuana At The Federal Level (Forbes)