Consumer Products

57% of Americans Think Marijuana Should Be Legal

Douglas A. McIntyre

As state after state approves the use of marijuana for recreational reasons, in some measure to raise tax revenue, ever more Americans think its use is just fine. According to Pew, 57% of Americans believe marijuana use should be legal.

The Pew news is not all good for state legislators who favor legal marijuana, nor for consumers. Some 37% believe pot should be illegal. This likely varies by state, which means the path to legalization is not easy everywhere.

According to Pew:

The share of Americans who favor legalizing the use of marijuana continues to increase. Today, 57% of U.S. adults say the use of marijuana should be made legal, while 37% say it should be illegal. A decade ago, opinion on legalizing marijuana was nearly the reverse – just 32% favored legalization, while 60% were opposed.

And the support has broadened across all age groups:

Young adults have disproportionately driven the shift toward public support of the drug, though support is rising among other generations as well. Millennials – those ages 18 to 35 in 2016 – are more than twice as likely to support legalization of marijuana as they were in 2006 (71% today, up from 34% in 2006), and are significantly more likely to support legalization than other generations.

Support for marijuana legalization has also increased among members of Generation X and Baby Boomers (ages 36-51 and 52-70 in 2016, respectively). More than half of Gen Xers (57%) support legalization, a considerable jump from just 21% in 1990. A majority of Boomers (56%) also support legalization, up from just 17% in 1990.

Marijuana makes money, at least for states. According to the Tax Foundation:

A mature marijuana industry could generate up to $28 billion in tax revenues for federal, state, and local governments, including $7 billion in federal revenue: $5.5 billion from business taxes and $1.5 billion from income and payroll taxes.

With public support, tax collectors may just get there.