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Surprising Facts About the Legalization of Marijuana

  • By: Robert Giannini, Esq.
  • Published: March 29, 2018

Legalization of marijuana continues to be a hotly debated topic among lawmakers, parents, teachers, advocates, and the healthcare community. As more and more states have legalized some form of marijuana, attitudes about legalization have shifted. Here are a few surprising facts about the legalization of marijuana and the ongoing battle over legalization.

  1. Support for the legalization of marijuana has increased.

According to researchers at Gallup and the General Social Survey, 53 percent of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal, while 44 percent believe it should be illegal. In 1969, when Gallup first introduced the topic in surveys, only 12 percent of Americans believed in legalization.

  1. Not everyone supports legalization, and some groups in support are surprising.

The shift in attitudes about the legalization of marijuana has been felt across many groups and demographics. Consider the following data:

  • 39 percent of Republicans support legalization
  • 40 percent of Hispanics support legalization
  • 68 percent of millennials support legalization
  • 50 percent of Baby Boomers support legalization
  1. Alcohol is more harmful, and Americans believe it.

Seven out of ten Americans, or 69 percent, believe that alcohol is more harmful than marijuana. Only 15 percent of Americans believe that marijuana is more harmful. Further, 63 percent of Americans believe that even if marijuana was used as frequently as alcohol, it would still cause less harm.

  1. Public smoking or use of marijuana is not as popular as legalization.

Even though support for legalization has increased, 62 percent of Americans say they would be bothered by public marijuana smoking. However, 57 percent of Americans say they would not be bothered by a store that legally sells marijuana opening for business in their communities. Only 15 percent of Americans report that they would be bothered by others’ use of marijuana in their own homes.

  1. Almost half of all Americans have reported marijuana use.

Whether they support legalization or not, 49 percent of Americans report that they have used marijuana in the past. Of those, 12 percent report use in the last year. Marijuana is the most commonly used “illicit drug” in the US, with 18.9 million Americans (over 12) having used marijuana in the month prior to the research being gathered.

  1. Legalization of marijuana may reduce crime.

There is a common misconception that legalizing marijuana will increase crime rates. Some research shows that the opposite is true. Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas reported in 2014 that crime rates in states where marijuana was legalized did not increase, but in fact, violent crime had decreased since legalization. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has previously reported that 25–30 percent of violent crimes are related to alcohol use. Very few violent crimes are linked to marijuana use. Research also indicates that legalization of marijuana does not lead to an increase in illegal use of the drug.

Find Out More About Legalization of Marijuana



Robert Giannini, Esq.

About the Author Attorney Robert “Bob” Giannini handles criminal defense and personal injury
cases throughout the metro Atlanta and north Georgia area. With almost two
decades of experience, Bob has the knowledge and experience...Read More