Connect with us


6 In 10 Americans Are ‘Surprised’ Marijuana Hasn’t Been Legalized Across The U.S. Yet, Poll Finds



A new survey of Americans’ habits, opinions and expectations around cannabis finds that nearly 6 in 10 adults are “surprised marijuana hasn’t been legalized across the United States yet.”

The new Harris Poll report, released on Thursday, further found that 4 in 10 U.S. adults are current cannabis consumers, with about a quarter of those using the substance at least weekly. Meanwhile nearly two thirds (64 percent) said that “marijuana no longer carries the stigma it used to have.”

“The numbers speak volumes,” Libby Rodney, chief strategy officer and resident futurist at The Harris Poll, a market research and consulting company, said in a statement about the group’s findings. “With 4 in 10 Americans using marijuana, it’s not a trend—it’s a cultural shift. What was once taboo is now mainstream, reflecting changing attitudes and norms.”

“It’s not just about usage; it’s about acceptance,” Rodney said, “signaling a new era in how we perceive and interact with this once controversial substance.”

Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed said they were “surprised marijuana hasn’t been legalized across the United States yet.”

The results come on the heels of a separate Gallup poll this week indicating that rates of marijuana use are nearly the same in states that have legalized marijuana versus those that still prohibit it, which Gallup said suggests “criminalization does little to curtail its use.” That survey found that 1 in 10 adults reported using marijuana 10 or more times in the past month, while 1 in 5 used cannabis at least once in the past month.

The Harris Poll findings are from a March 22–24 online survey of 2,043 U.S. adults.

Four in 10 Americans use marijuana, including a quarter of those who use iton a weekly basis

The Harris Poll

Among the poll’s other findings, the survey showed that more than seven in 10 people who use marijuana reported preferring it over both cigarettes and alcohol.

People were also asked about what they would give up to make or keep marijuana legal for adult use. Among millennials, nearly half (45 percent) said they’d give up alcohol, for example, while 34 percent said they’d give up coffee and 32 percent said they’d give up social media. Younger Gen Z respondents, by comparison, were less likely to give up any of those indulgences in favor of marijuana (alcohol: 38 percent; coffee: 25 percent; social media: 21 percent).

More than a quarter of respondents (27 percent) reported living in a jurisdiction where cannabis is legal for medical and adult use, while 13 percent said marijuana was completely illegal and 13 percent said only medical was legal (although another 9 percent said medical was legal and adult use was decriminalized).

Twenty-four percent of respondents said they weren’t sure of the legal status of marijuana in their location.

The future is green: Marijuana gains ground over alcohol and cigarettes, asmost users favor it over other stimulants

The Harris Poll

Pollsters also said their findings show that zero-tolerance workplace marijuana policies “are losing their grip on the workplace,” with 38 percent of respondents reporting that their workplace has a zero-tolerance policy.

By contrast, 15 percent said use for medical reasons was permitted outside work hours, while 23 percent said either medical or adult use were allowed.

Nearly a quarter (24 percent) said they were unsure of their workplace’s policies.

Employees, meanwhile, “are looking for jobs that follow suit,” The Harris Poll said, with 1 in 5 saying they’ve left an employer due to their marijuana use policy.

Two thirds (66 percent) of Americans reported thinking marijuana products are overpriced—a number that jumped to 79 percent among marijuana users and 82 percent among heavy users.

Despite the poll itself showing that perceptions are changing, Americans are still hesitant to share their marijuana habits. Nearly two thirds (64 percent) of marijuana users said they’re selective about revealing use, with more than half (56 percent) saying they “wouldn’t disclose my marijuana usage on the first few dates.”

For some Americans, marijuana is a make or break for relationships, realestate, and even the job search, especially for the younger generations

The Harris Poll

Looking forward, most Americans think cannabis reform will continue in the country, with 64 percent saying that it “won’t be long before marijuana is fully legalized.” The same proportion said 2024 would be “a good year for the marijuana industry,” while 56 percent said the industry “will fuel the American economy.”

As for whether to structure legalization in a way that benefits those most harmed by the drug war, a majority (56 percent) said that “social equity programs should be implemented to address historical injustices related to marijuana criminalization.”

That includes 68 percent of Democrats surveyed and 46 percent of Republicans.

With most Americans foreseeing popularity and accessibility, there is a strongbelief marijuana will be as prevalent as alcohol in the future

The Harris Poll

While a minority of Americans report regularly using marijuana, polls have consistently found that there’s increasingly bipartisan majority support for legalizing cannabis.

For example, nine in 10 Americans say marijuana should be legal for recreational or medical purposes, a Pew Research Center poll that was released last month found. And most agree that legalization bolsters local economies and makes the criminal justice system more fair.

An earlier Gallup poll from last year, meanwhile, found that support for marijuana legalization reached a new record high nationally, with seven in 10 Americans—including a sizable majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents—backing an end to prohibition.

Another survey released last month found that a strong majority of voters in three states—including more than 60 percent of Republicans—support congressional legislation to protect states’ rights to set their own marijuana laws.

Pew also released a separate report in February that found eight in 10 Americans now live in a county with at least one marijuana dispensary. The analysis also shows that high concentrations of retailers often “cluster” near borders abutting other states that have “less permissive cannabis laws”—indicating that there’s a large market of people who live in still-criminalized jurisdictions who cross state lines to purchase regulated products.

This Will Be The ‘Last 4/20 Celebration’ With Marijuana Still In Schedule I, Congressman Says, While Predicting House Action On Cannabis Banking Bill

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Become a patron at Patreon!

Ben Adlin, a senior editor at Marijuana Moment, has been covering cannabis and other drug policy issues professionally since 2011. He was previously a senior news editor at Leafly, an associate editor at the Los Angeles Daily Journal and a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. He lives in Washington State.


Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Get our daily newsletter.

Support Marijuana Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox


Get our daily newsletter.