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Poll: Most Americans Support Ending Federal Cannabis Criminalization

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More than six in ten US adults say that they favor “changing federal law to legalize [cannabis] for recreational use,” according to national polling data compiled by Politico and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It is the third national survey released within the past month showing strong majority support among Americans for legalizing cannabis.

Commenting on the poll results, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said: “At a time when the political divides is larger than ever, the issue of [cannabis] legalization is one of the few policy issues upon which most Americans agree. With eleven states now having legalized the adult use of cannabis, citizens of all ages and ideologies are seeing the benefits of regulation and rejecting the failed policy of [cannabis] prohibition. We expect to see public support to continue to grow in 2020 as more and more states implement sensible cannabis regulatory policies.”

Sixty-two percent of respondents endorsed legalization and 69 percent of respondents said that they supported allowing the substance to be sold at retail via state-licensed stores. Support for legalization was strongest among self-identified Independents (69 percent) and Democrats (67 percent). Slight majorities also said that they supported the establishment of state-licensed cannabis cafes (52 percent) and were comfortable with recreational cannabis facilities operating in their local neighborhoods (53 percent).

Consistent with prior polls, most of those respondents residing in adult-use legal states favor the policy change. Sixty-four percent of respondents said that “legalizing [cannabis] for recreational use … has been a good thing.”

The poll possesses a margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points.


NORML’s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high-quality [cannabis] that is safe, convenient, and affordable.

Find out more at and read our factsheets on the most common misconceptions and myths regarding reform efforts around the country at

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