Study: US adults largely support marijuana legalization for medical and recreational use

A recent survey from Pew Research Center shows that the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes continues to hold support from many groups across the U.S.

The survey results show that 59% of U.S. adults believe marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use by adults, while another 30% say it should be legal for medical use only.

The results come as Maryland voters recently approved fully legalizing marijuana. It’s a move that has garnered a lot of support around the country.

Overall, just 10% of U.S. adults say marijuana use should be illegal both medically and recreationally.

Among adults aged 75 or older, just three in 10 say marijuana should be legal both medically and recreationally. Older adults were less likely than younger adults to favor legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.

Differences in support also exist across political affiliations. Support of marijuana for both medical and recreational use comes from 45% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, versus 73% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents.

This survey done in October reflects views that are virtually unchanged since last April, according to Pew.

In the D.C. area

Earlier this month, Maryland voters approved a ballot measure to legalize a small amount of recreational marijuana for personal use.

The constitutional amendment goes into effect July 2023 for people 21 and over, and requires the General Assembly to pass legislation regarding distribution, regulation and taxation of cannabis in the state.

Currently, 19 states along with D.C. have fully legalized marijuana. There are also 37 states including Maryland that have legalized medical marijuana, according to The Associated Press.

Shayna Estulin

Shayna Estulin joined WTOP in 2021 as an anchor/reporter covering breaking news in the D.C. region. She has loved radio since she was a child and is thrilled to now be part of Washington’s top radio news station.

Dana Sukontarak

Dana Sukontarak is a Digital Writer/Editor for She loves haiku poetry, short sci-fi stories and word games. She grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and currently lives in Silver Spring.

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