The vast majority of people who support marijuana legalization aren’t looking to just get high, a new poll finds.
In fact, 86% of supporters cite the drug’s benefits to those who use it medicinally as a “very important” reason they favor legalization, according to a Gallup poll of more than 1,000 U.S. adults conducted between May 15 and May 30.
There is evidence that cannabis and/or cannabinoids can help with conditions like pain, multiple sclerosis-related muscle spasms and chemotherapy-related nausea, according to a 2017 research review by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.
Other reasons respondents deemed “very important” included freeing up law enforcement to focus on other types of crime (70%), marijuana use being a matter of personal choice and freedom (60%), providing a tax-revenue source for state and local governments (56%), increased safety for marijuana users due to government regulation (47%), and the belief that marijuana isn’t harmful to users (35%).
Sixty-four percent of respondents thought marijuana ought to be legalized, 34% said it should be illegal and 2% had no opinion. As for why opponents didn’t want marijuana legalized, nearly eight in 10 said the potential increase in marijuana-involved car accidents was a “very important” reason for their disapproval. Additional top reasons included the notion that marijuana was a gateway to stronger and more addictive drugs (69%) and the possibility that more people would use marijuana (62%).
Gallup’s main finding tracks with a recent survey by market-research firm Nielsen, which found that one in three U.S. adults aged 21 and up were interested in using legalized cannabis, and those who said they’d consume the drug if it were legalized were most likely to cite