High times! More than 90% of Americans back full legalization of marijuana - just weeks after Virginia became 16th state to permit recreational use

 More than 90 per cent of Americans now think that marijuana should be legal in some form with almost two-thirds saying they support legalizing both medicinal and recreational use, according to a new survey.

Less than one in ten - or 8 per cent - said marijuana should not be legal for use, according to the study done by Pew Research Center.

The poll was done just weeks after Virginia and New York became the latest states to take steps toward legalizing marijuana.

The Democratic-controlled Congress is also considering legislation that would legalize marijuana nationally.

The latest Pew survey finds that majorities across all age groups - with the exception of those 75 and older - think that marijuana should be legal for both medicinal and recreational use.

There was also widespread agreement along racial and political lines. Whites (63 per cent) and blacks (65 per cent) overwhelmingly supported legalization for both recreational and medicinal.

More than 90 per cent of Americans now think that marijuana should be legal in some form with almost two-thirds saying they support legalizing both medicinal and recreational use, according to a new survey

The latest Pew survey finds that majorities across all age groups - with the exception of those 75 and older - think that marijuana should be legal for both medicinal and recreational use

The latest Pew survey finds that majorities across all age groups - with the exception of those 75 and older - think that marijuana should be legal for both medicinal and recreational use

There also appears to be a generational divide on the issue. Republicans older than 65 are far less likely to support legalization for both medicinal and recreational use, according to the survey

There also appears to be a generational divide on the issue. Republicans older than 65 are far less likely to support legalization for both medicinal and recreational use, according to the survey

Just 29 per cent of whites and 26 per cent of African Americans surveyed said that only medicinal marijuana should be permitted.

Hispanics (52 per cent) and Asians (43 per cent) supported legalization for both medicinal and recreational, but at smaller percentages.

Both of those groups supported legal medical marijuana by large pluralities - 35 per cent among Hispanics and 46 per cent among Asians.


Just 12 per cent of Hispanics and 8 per cent of Asians think marijuana should not be legal in any form.

Democrats and Republicans both support legalization, though supporters of the GOP back it in smaller numbers.

Of those who call themselves Republicans or Republican-leaning, 47 per cent back legalization for both medicinal and recreational marijuana. Just 40 per cent say it should be legal just for medicinal purposes.

Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, 72 per cent think it should be legal for both medicinal and recreational use; 23 per cent say it should only be legal for medicinal use; and 5 per cent said it shouldn’t be legal at all.

There also appears to be a generational divide on the issue. Republicans older than 65 are far less likely to support legalization for both medicinal and recreational use, according to the survey.

Among Democrats, there is also a drop in the enthusiasm for legalization as the age group gets older.

A New Yorker is seen above smoking a joint in the Washington Square Park section of Manhattan on April 3. New York became the 15th state last month to legalize recreational marijuana use

A New Yorker is seen above smoking a joint in the Washington Square Park section of Manhattan on April 3. New York became the 15th state last month to legalize recreational marijuana use

Nearly 80 per cent of Democrats between the ages of 18 and 29 are in favor of legalization marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use while 64 per cent of Democrats over the age of 65 say the same.

Earlier this month, Virginia became the 16th state in the nation and the first Southern state to legalize recreational marijuana, as lawmakers voted to approve Governor Ralph Northam’s proposed changes to a bill that will allow adults to possess and cultivate small amounts of the drug starting in July.

Northam sent the bill back to lawmakers substantially changed from the version that squeaked out of the General Assembly in February. 

The amendments lawmakers agreed to this month would accelerate the timeline of legalization by about three years, well before retail sales would begin, a move that’s been cheered by racial justice advocates.

Beginning July 1, Virginians will be able to legally grow up to four cannabis plants and possess up to one ounce. 

The bill was passed by a 53-44 vote in the House and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax broke a 21-20 vote in the Senate to pass it, with no support from Republicans. 

Northam said the state has 'made history as the first state in the South to legalize the simple possession of marijuana.'

'Marijuana laws were explicitly designed to target communities of color, and Black Virginians are disproportionately likely to be stopped, charged, and convicted,' he said.

Northam proposed a bill in February that would legalize recreational pot in 2024, but pushed for the timeline to be accelerated in an effort to 'restore justice to those harmed by decades of over criminalization.' 

'Today, Virginia took a critical step to right these wrongs and restore justice to those harmed by decades of over-criminalization.'  

Regulated sales are scheduled to begin in January 2024 to give the state time to license recreational retailers, and the state's current medical dispensaries won't be able to begin selling to all adults immediately unlike other states.

The state plans to use tax revenues from marijuana sales to fund health initiatives like substance use disorder treatment programs, along with pre-kindergarten education.

So far, 34 states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana in some form, including recreational use, medical use and sales

So far, 34 states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana in some form, including recreational use, medical use and sales

Gov. Ralph Northam (seen above in October) announced earlier this month that Virginia is making history as the first state in the south to legalize marijuana

Gov. Ralph Northam (seen above in October) announced earlier this month that Virginia is making history as the first state in the south to legalize marijuana 

When regulated sales begin, the current bill sets a 21 percent excise tax on marijuana. Retailers will be able to add an additional 3 percent tax on top of existing sales tax. 

A 2020 study by the governor's office found marijuana tax revenue in the state could bring in up to $274million. The legal industry could bring in between $698 million and $1.2 billionannually in economic activity.

In addition to the financial benefits for the state, Gov. Northam wanted to move up the date of legalization in an effort to stop penalizing people for possessing a drug that would be legal soon.

Eileen Filler-Corn, the Democratic House of Delegates speaker, applauded the plan in a statement saying, 'With the Governor's amendments, we will have made tremendous progress in ending the targeting of Black and brown Virginians through selective enforcement of marijuana prohibition by this summer.'

The Virginia bill allows for people who have been charged with marijuana-related offenses and those who graduated from historically Black colleges and universities to have preference when the state begins to grant licenses.

'Legalization will bring an end to the thousands of low-level marijuana infractions occurring annually... ending a discriminatory practice that far too often targets Virginians who are young, poor, and people of color,' said Jenn Michelle Pedini with NORML, a national group lobbying for pot legalization.

Virginia joins several other states, including New York and New Jersey, to approve similar measures, but is the first state to do so in the socially and politically conservative US south. 

In 2019, New York softened some criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana and launched a process to automatically expunge the records of thousands of individuals convicted of low-level possession crimes.

Last month, New York lawmakers reached a deal to legalize recreational marijuana after Cuomo dubbed it his 'top priority' under tax plans expected to bring in more than $350 million annually.

With Virginia's legislation, 16 states and Washington DC have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and 34 states have relaxed marijuana laws in different ways, with medical marijuana legalization and decriminalization elsewhere.   

High times! More than 90% of Americans back full legalization of marijuana - just weeks after Virginia became 16th state to permit recreational use High times! More than 90% of Americans back full legalization of marijuana - just weeks after Virginia became 16th state to permit recreational use Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:14 Rating: 5

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