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.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Economics 101

Intro to economics. But fun.

View Course »

Getting out of debt

Everyone hates debt. Get out of it.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

177 Comments

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
http://www.kronicweed.com/

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

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 http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/01/vote-teapot-2011.html Drop in and let me know what you think!

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

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
dumbneasy

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
sylvan339

apropo sn

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

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
Cuff

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
Jeff

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
sylvan339

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
hbow11

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
pocollins

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
lovbuton

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
sylvan339

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
Jeff

One other thing - Non - Smokers have no earthly idea just how many Smokers there are, maybe just about 75% of all people they know and Love and Trust (rightfully so)...

April 04 2011 at 5:59 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply