More Americans Support Cannabis Legalization, Prefer Weed Over Alcohol

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A new national survey from market research company SSRS has confirmed what many already know – American support for marijuana legalization is growing as we speak.


A plethora of polls demonstrates growing support for cannabis across the U.S. with some looking at additional notable information, such as comparing the preference for weed to alcohol.

SSRS shows that as many as 71% of those who have tried cannabis say alcohol is more harmful compared to 35% who never tried weed.

RELATED: Cannabis Sales Are Higher Than Alcohol in Massachusetts. Is It a National Trend?

Key takeaways 

Cannabis Legalization 

69% of Americans support legalizing marijuana for recreational use, while 30% oppose it; 84% of those who have tried cannabis and some 43% who never tried it support adult-use cannabis legalization;

Politically: 78% of Democrats and 74% of independents are more likely to support legalization, compared to 54% of Republicans; 

92% of Americans support medical marijuana legalization; 

Alcohol versus Cannabis 

In total 58% of Americans believe alcohol is more harmful to a person’s health than marijuana, some 4% think the opposite, and some 34% say they are equally harmful. The least or 3% say neither is harmful; 

71% of millennials, 63% of Gen Z, 55% of Gen X, 51% of Boomers, and some 27% of the Silent generation think alcohol is more harmful than weed.

Other Highlights  

91% of Americans agree that the war on drugs has not been successful at reducing the use of illegal drugs; 

Americans from the Boomer generation win by the percentage of those who tried marijuana with – 72%, followed by Millennials (68%), Gen X (67%), Gen Z (52%), and Silent (30%).

The poll has a margin of error of +/– 3.5 percentage points.

“Voters support legalizing marijuana regardless of political party affiliation. At a time when national politics remain acutely polarized, elected officials ought to come together in a bipartisan manner to repeal the failed policy of cannabis prohibition,” NORML’s deputy director Paul Armentano commented on the results. “It is one of the few policy reforms that voters on the right and on the left can all agree upon.”

RELATED: The Number of Americans Who Support Marijuana Legalization Will Surprise You

Similar recent polls 

A survey, conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online from April 1 to 5 revealed that 57% would support expunging marijuana-related convictions, while 51% back allowing banks to provide services to marijuana businesses. It also showed that nearly two-thirds of Americans would like to see marijuana legalized, a recent poll shows.

Another survey from Data For Progress and the People’s Action Institute conducted in March highlighted that a vast majority of Americans, including most Republicans, support drug decriminalization. The poll that involved 1,260 likely voters and a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points, revealed that a majority of Republican voters (54%) agree with drug decriminalization as compared to 42% last year.

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