Eighty-five percent of Americans believe that marijuana “should be legalized for medical use,” and 57 percent of respondents endorse regulating it for anyone over the age of 21, according to national poll done by Harris Insight & Analytics.
Among younger respondents (those ages 18 to 44), 68 percent agree that cannabis should be legal.
Slightly more than two out of three adults (69 percent) believe the benefits of medical marijuana outweigh the risks, and a similar percentage believe pot should be viewed as a type of natural medicine, the findings showed.
Fifty seven percent say legalizing cannabis would “help alleviate the opioid crisis.”
"Voters believe that ending America's failed marijuana prohibition laws is a common-sense issue, not a partisan one," NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano told HealthDay, which commissioned the poll.
"It's time for their elected officials to take a similar posture, and to move expeditiously to amend federal law in a manner that comports with public and scientific consensus, as well as with marijuana's rapidly changing cultural and legal status,” said Armentano.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, evaluating prescription drug use trends among patients enrolled in state-licensed medical marijuana programs, reports that chronic pain subjects frequently reduce or eliminate their opioid usage following enrollment.
Reasons provided by those who opposed legalization included fear of diversion and concerns that legalization could negatively impact traffic safety.
The Harris polling data is essentially consistent with prior surveys finding that a majority of Americans back recreational cannabis legalization and a super-majority support medicinal cannabis access.
According to the most recent Gallup poll, 64 percent of US adults, including majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, believe that the adult use of marijuana should be legal.
The Harris Poll found that people do not support a Wild West approach to legal pot however.
Four out of five respondents said that medical marijuana should be regulated like other medicines, including U.S. Food and Drug Administration oversight and prescriptions from a medical professional.
The online poll included more than 2,000 U.S. adults and was conducted in mid-July.