Unprecedented Support for Legal Marijuana

Stephen Andrews
26 Apr 2022

4/20 is probably the most important day that cherishes and celebrates cannabis culture. In the weeks leading to the "unofficial" marijuana holiday, a number of polls were conducted in the U.S. and abroad, showing that public support for the recreational use of the medical plant is stronger than ever and that global reform may be necessary sooner rather than later.

In the U.S., two separate polls reveal that marijuana legalization enjoys a majority, bipartisan support, with most people saying that they would gladly support any politician who stands for cannabis reform. 

A poll from the market research firm SSRS found that 69 percent of Americans, or 7 out of 10 Americans, favor adult-use legalization, with as many as 92 percent supporting legalizing cannabis for medical use. 

78% of Democrats, 74% of independents, and 54% of Republicans said they favor a policy change regarding adult-use legalization. The same poll found only 30% of Americans oppose legalizing marijuana for recreational use. 

The SSRS survey bases its findings on the interviews of 1,009 individuals quizzed on the legalization subject in early April. 

The survey further finds that 58% of Americans agree that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. 65% of the interviewees said they had personally tried cannabis, and 97% of those who've used marijuana are in favor of medical cannabis legalization, compared to 83% who said they hadn't tried it. 

survey on marijuana legalization 2022.
Source: SSRS

A second poll by the cannabis company Jushi Holdings, also conducted throughout April, found that 61% of adults 21 and older would be more likely to support a political candidate if they backed cannabis reform. That includes 33% of Democrats, 25% of Republicans, 24% of independents, and 13% of individuals without a political affiliation. 

The 4/20 Cannabis Insight Poll, as it has been dubbed, involved interviews with 1,100 individuals, and the results were made public two days before the holy day.

The same poll found that 76% of respondents favor allowing military veterans to access medical cannabis, while 68% believe that the federal government should allow marijuana businesses to access the financial system as any other regular business. In addition, 62% of respondents said they think that legalization plays an important economic role, with 57% answering they are positive the industry creates high-quality jobs. 

Last but not least, 59% of the respondents in the Jushi survey agreed that "cannabis overall has a positive impact on society." 

"The results of our inaugural '4/20 Cannabis Insights Poll' are clear, consumer confidence in cannabis is growing, as more Americans enter the state-legalized market and are exposed to the benefits of state legalization," Jim Cacioppo, CEO of Jushi Holdings, said in a statement. 

Cacioppo added: "This poll shows views on the plant and legalization are trending in a positive direction, and we believe this trajectory will only strengthen in the coming years." 

High Support for Cannabis Reform in Europe and Australia

While approval of marijuana legalization in the U.S. has been consistently increasing with the spread of legalization, a similar trend can be observed overseas as more countries worldwide relax rules on cannabis. European countries such as Malta and Luxembourg have so far made the most significant effort to this end. 

A recent poll from the London-based Hanway Associates surveyed residents in eight different European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

The survey, which was backed by the cannabis company Curaleaf International, reveals that the average is 55% of those who support legalizing marijuana for recreational use across these eight countries. In contrast, 25% appear to oppose it, and 18% of interviewees are uncertain. The survey found Italians were most supportive of reform (60%), while Dutch were the least supportive of it (47%). The U.K. stick to the average of 55%.

survey on marijuana legalization in Europe 2022.
Source: Hanway Associates

When respondents were explicitly asked if they favor certain forms of marijuana access, 48% said they favor regulated retail shops, 35% expressed approval for a non-commercial homegrow model, and 32% said they are up for social clubs. Of the three options, homegrowing was met with the strongest opposition or an average of 41% against such a policy. 

In Australia, the support for recreational reform also appears to be at a tipping point. An online survey by polling company Essential Research, carried out between March 30 and April 2 this year, found that 50% of respondents favored full-scale reform. Which is double the number recorded in a 2013 official poll on the same subject. 

58% of the Aussies who responded to the latest survey said they want to make medical cannabis more affordable than it is now, including the option for patients to grow by themselves. In addition, 62% said they support scrapping current drug driving laws. 

Summed up, the need for urgent federal — and international — drug policy reform seems necessary. A few years from now, humanity will look back on prohibition and say, oh, what a silly thing we did waiting for so long to allow people to consume a plant that first and foremost is medicinal and healing in its nature. 

Stephen Andrews