Majority of Americans Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana Via States

In 1976, Jamaican reggae artist Peter Tosh released his pro-marijuana anthem, "Legalize It". And now, 35 years later, it appears a majority of Americans share Tosh's sentiment -- at least when it comes to legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

Almost three-quarters of Americans favor legalizing the herb within their respective states for medical use, while just 18% oppose such a measure, according to a Harris Interactive poll released this past Thursday.

In fact, 48% of those surveyed said they "strongly" supported legalizing medical marijuana, with the greatest support coming from the East and West Coasts, Harris Interactive said -- citing its online poll of almost 3,200 U.S. adults in February. With a 69% support rate for legalizing medical marijuana, the South had the largest opposition to the measure.

Recreational Use a Different Issue

When it comes to recreational use and jurisdiction, however, there appears to be far more debate among Americans. Of those surveyed, 49% opposed legalizing marijuana in their state for recreational use, compared with the 42% who came out in favor of it. Additionally, Americans were almost split on whether legalization should be a state or federal decision.

Regardless, about three-quarters of those surveyed were convinced legalizing marijuana would boost tax revenue for cash-strapped states, with 51% saying there would be a "large increase" in tax funds from such a measure.

Medical marijuana has been legalized in 15 states, although recreational use hasn't been passed. Last November, California put Proposition 19, which would've legalized recreational marijuana use in the most populous U.S. state, on its ballot. The measure lost by a 53-47 margin.

Medical marijuana generates about $1.7 billion in annual sales, or almost the same amount as Viagra, according to a March report released by independent financial analysis firm See Change Strategy. Estimates of the total U.S. marijuana trade have ranged from $20 billion to more than $100 billion.

Learn about investing from the comfort of your own home.

Portfolio Basics

Take the first steps to building your portfolio.

View Course »

Investment Strategies

Learn the strategies you need to build a winning portfolio

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
Lgal Haiys

Support for marijuana legalization is slowly rising, like the cloud of smoke you'll see above. So I guess this is a very good sign of the legalization of marijuana.

Legal Marijuana

June 21 2011 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Marijuana is the safest drug with actual benefits for the user as opposed to alcohol which is dangerous, causes addiction, birth defects, and affects literally every organ in the body. Groups are organizing all over the country to speak their minds on reforming pot laws. I drew up a very cool poster for the cause which you can check out on my artist’s blog at Drop in and let me know what you think!

April 05 2011 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

RE-POSTING: A new report projects that we put out $10-14 Billion in tax payers money every year, on the war against marijuana. So let's see what we're getting for our money....It allow's the Mexican cartel to get richer, and buy better weapons. Just to be able to keep killing people: Which the total killed from (December 2006 to March 2011) has been 36,226 people. What does it matter, that we have the blood on our hands? Oh and then there's the people that are in jail for life, because they got caught with to much marijuana, but we let out murders in less then 10 years? And what about destroying our own kids lives, just because they got caught with it. We'll make sure they'll never be able to get a good job! The country's broke, the thought of taxing it and helping people out, doesn't sound good? I think the educated better learn some common sense, or our country is in more trouble then you'll ever know!!

April 05 2011 at 9:35 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

75%? I'm not buying that number for a second. The majority of America may not mind medical marijuana for those who truly need it; but the poll must be skewed in the way it asks the questions to get the result you're reporting.

April 04 2011 at 9:49 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dumbneasy's comment

apropo sn

April 07 2011 at 9:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh and I have NEVER seen anyone do anything violent as a result of being under the influence of marijuanna (unlike alchohol). And don't give me the "everyone reacts different" speech. Everyone who does it acts pretty much the same, PACIFIED lol. Yes, it does have bad side effects and even becomes counterproductive if you use TOO MUCH. Then again, too much of anything is bad. Oh and it's not medically considered to be habbit forming (addiction, also unlike alchohol).

April 04 2011 at 7:07 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply

Well glad to see Americans aren't complete sheep. Now we can get off all these bullsh#t legal prescription drugs, which do more harm to us than help in my opinion...

April 04 2011 at 6:54 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

mlp has read the liberal media witch hunt, and has consumed the Kool - Aid. WOW.

April 04 2011 at 6:39 PM Report abuse -9 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jeff's comment

Jeff is a ventriloquists tool for the repressive and uptight right. WOW.

April 07 2011 at 9:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Marijuana is a dangerous, mind-altering drug and is at the root of many mental disorders, including acute toxic psychosis, panic attacks (one of the very conditions it is being used experimentally to treat), flashbacks, delusions, depersonalization, hallucinations, paranoia, depression, and uncontrollable aggressiveness. Marijuana has long been known to trigger attacks of mental illness, such as bipolar (manic-depressive) psychosis and schizophrenia.
In the short term, marijuana use impairs perception, judgment, thinking, memory, and learning; memory defects may persist six weeks after last use. Mental disorders connected with marijuana use merit their own category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) IV, published by the American Psychiatric Association. These include Cannabis Intoxication (consisting of impaired motor coordination, anxiety, impaired judgment, sensation of slowed time, social withdrawal, and often includes perceptual disturbances; Cannabis Intoxication Delirium (memory deficit, disorientation); Cannabis Induced Psychotic Disorder, Delusions; Cannabis Induced Psychotic Disorder, Hallucinations; and Cannabis Induced Anxiety Disorder.
In addition, marijuana use has many indirect effects on health. Its effect on coordination, perception, and judgment means that it causes a number of accidents, vehicular and otherwise.
Marijuana use reduces learning ability. Research has been piling up of late demonstrating clearly that marijuana limits the capacity to absorb and retain information. A 1995 study of college students discovered that the inability of heavy marijuana users to focus, sustain attention, and organize data persists for as long as 24 hours after their last use of the drug. Earlier research, comparing cognitive abilities of adult marijuana users with non-using adults, found that users fall short on memory as well as math and verbal skills. Although it has yet to be proven conclusively that heavy marijuana use can cause irreversible loss of intellectual capacity, animal studies have shown marijuana-induced structural damage to portions of the brain essential to memory and learning.
Chronic marijuana smokers are prey to chest colds, bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchial asthma. Persistent use will damage lungs and airways and raise the risk of cancer. There is just as much exposure to cancer-causing chemicals from smoking one marijuana joint as smoking five tobacco cigarettes. And there is evidence that marijuana may limit the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease.
Marijuana also affects hormones. Regular use can delay the onset of puberty in young men and reduce sperm production. For women, regular use may disrupt normal monthly menstrual cycles and inhibit ovulation. When pregnant women use marijuana, they run the risk of having smaller babies with lower birth weights, who are more likely than other babies to develop health problems. Some studies have also found indications of developmental delays in children exposed to marijuana before birth.

April 04 2011 at 6:19 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to mlp7595's comment

legalize it cure the federal deficit issue in five years.

April 04 2011 at 6:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

The dispensories here in WA state are basically marijuana sales store fronts. The people here can get marijuana prescribed for a hangnail. Medical marijuana was sold as relief for cancer parients and those suffering from glaucoma. Everyone was sympathetic to that. But this has become an absolute sham with unlicensed individuals opening shop, doctors prescribing MJ for anything under the sun. Our illustrious legislators are so cash strapped (due to their irresponsible spending programs), they even proposed selling pot in the state controlled liquor stores - guess when it comes to moral backbone, money wins the day. Until they control licensing, bust negligent doctors, inspect and control the narcotic and actually prove they can collect a tax, these are nothing more than pot selling storefronts getting heavy duty product from quasi-legal growhouses that have popped up everywhere. The amount of electricity, water etc. it takes to grow indoor weed is ridiculous. Not a prude by any stretch, but this was a gateway drug for me in the seventies, and now is 10-50x's stronger today.

April 04 2011 at 6:04 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to pocollins's comment

This was a gateway drug for you because you had to go buy it at places where other drugs were sold. By legalizing pot that would stop.

April 04 2011 at 6:37 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply

Ah excuse me, Bud, but this plant is not a narcotic. Opium and heroin are narcotics. This weed SHOULD be sold in liquor stores, regulated and taxed, just like everything from near-beer to 150% alcohol. Everyone could choose their particular preference of potency for either. I don't see how anyone opposing the legalization of marijuana has a leg to stand on when you compare it to the acceptance of alcohol in our society. If it is not immoral to sell alcohol, why would it be immoral to sell marijuana? The amount of electricity and water it takes to grow lawns in Arizona is ridiculous too, but people will have their GREEN!

April 07 2011 at 9:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply