West Long Branch, NJ – President Joe Biden’s decision to issue a blanket pardon for anyone convicted in federal court of simple marijuana possession has been met with broad public approval according to the Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll. In all, 2 in 3 Americans support legalizing marijuana, with most saying its use poses less of a danger than alcohol or tobacco.
Overall, two-thirds (68%) of the American public supports legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. This includes 76% of Democrats and 73% of independents, along with 52% of Republicans. By age, support is highest among those under 35 years old (87%) but also includes a majority of those age 55 and over (53%). Support levels for legalizing marijuana are similar by parental status and by race.
Similarly, 69% of Americans approve of Biden issuing pardons for people convicted on federal charges for simple marijuana possession. This comes even though few know how many pardons were actually issued. About one-fifth to one-quarter think this number is either less than 1,000 convictions (25%), between a 1,000 and 10,000 (26%), or over 10,000 (21%). Another 29% don’t hazard a guess. [Note: published reports estimate more than 6,500 federal convictions were pardoned, plus an additional number of local convictions in Washington, DC.]
“Polling from a variety of sources shows that support for marijuana legalization has been increasing consistently over the past twenty years. Biden’s action is in line with how the vast majority of Americans feel about this issue,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Most Americans (54%) say legalizing marijuana would have no impact on the number of other drug crimes. One in four (25%) believe it would lead to an increase in other drug crimes while 16% believe these crimes would actually decrease if marijuana was legalized.
Just 3 in 10 say marijuana use is a either a very serious (15%) or moderately serious (16%) problem in the country today. The view that this is at least a moderately serious problem is more likely to be held by Republicans (48%) than Democrats (23%) or independents (26%). Also, those age 55 and older (47%) are much more likely than those under 35 (14%) to feel this way.
A majority (54%) of the public believes that alcohol use is more dangerous than marijuana and a plurality (45%) say the same about tobacco products versus marijuana. Few feel that marijuana is more dangerous than either of these substances – 7% when compared with alcohol and 13% when compared with cigarettes and cigars. Just under 4 in 10 think marijuana use is equally as dangerous as using either of the other substances – 38% for alcohol and 38% for tobacco.
More than half (54%) of American adults report ever having tried marijuana, including similar numbers of Republicans (51%), Democrats (54%), and independents (56%). Unsurprisingly, people with personal experience using marijuana (86%) are more supportive of its legalization than those who have never tried it (47%) – although nearly half of this latter group still falls on the side of legalization.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from October 13 to 17, 2022 with 808 adults in the United States. The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 5.2 percentage points for the full sample. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.
QUESTIONS AND RESULTS
(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)
[Q1-10 previously released.]
11.Overall, do you support or oppose legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use?
|(VOL) Don’t Know||6%|
12.Would you say the use of marijuana is a very serious problem in the country today, a moderately serious problem, not too serious, or not really a problem at all?
|Not too serious||24%|
|Not really a problem||43%|
|(VOL) Don’t Know||2%|
13.Do you think legalizing marijuana would lead to an increase in other drug crimes, lead to a decrease in other drug crimes, or have no impact on the number of other drug crimes?
|(VOL) Don’t Know||5%|
[QUESTIONS 14 & 15 WERE ROTATED]
14.Which of the following do you think is more dangerous for people in this country to use – marijuana or alcohol – or are they equally dangerous?
|(VOL) Don’t Know||1%|
15.Which of the following do you think is more dangerous for people in this country to use – marijuana or tobacco products such as cigarettes or cigars – or are they equally dangerous?
|(VOL) Don’t Know||3%|
16.President Biden recently issued pardons for people convicted on federal charges for simple marijuana possession. Have you heard about this or not?
17.Do you approve or disapprove of these pardons? [If NEEDED: Pardons for people convicted on federal charges for simple marijuana possession.]
|(VOL) Don’t Know||8%|
17A.How many people do you think were pardoned by this action? [If NEEDED: What is your best guess?] [Note: open-ended responses have been grouped into categories.]
|1,000 or less||25%|
18.Keeping in mind that all your answers in this survey are confidential, have you yourself ever happened to try marijuana?
|(VOL) Don’t Know||1%|
[Q19-28 previously released.]
The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from October 13 to 17, 2022 with a probability-based national random sample of 808 adults age 18 and older. This includes 284 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 524 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through a mix of random digit dialing and list-based sampling. Landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, with sample obtained from Dynata (RDD, n=584), Aristotle (list, n=143) and a panel of prior Monmouth poll participants (n=81). Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points (adjusted for sample design effects). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.
|69% No degree|
|31% 4 year degree|
Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.