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“Almost 75 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes”

April 6, 2010

Almost 75 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to a national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The number in support of general marijuana legalization is much smaller although growing, at 41 percent today versus 35 percent in 2008. Twenty years ago, only 16 percent of the public thought marijuana use should be legal.

A majority of Republicans, Democrats and political independents favor medical marijuana legalization, although Republicans are less likely to be in support than Democrats or Independents. The support was found across the board, in both states that don’t currently allow medical marijuana and those that do.

Almost half of people under the age of 49 say they have tried marijuana. By comparison, 42 percent of those between the ages of 50 and 64 have tried it, and only 11 percent of those over 64 have tried it. This trend is supported by those who say they are in favor of general legalization of the drug. Fifty eight percent of those under the age of 30, 42 percent between the ages of 30 and 40, 40 percent of those between 50 and 64, and only 22 percent of those above 64 support general legalization.

The survey was conducted March 10-14 with a sample of 1,500 adults on landlines and cell phones. You can see the full results on the Pew Center website.

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