Top Pro & Con Arguments


Americans have agreed for decades that medical marijuana should be legal.

Widespread American approval of marijuana is seen in the many states that have legalized its use. Since California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, 36 states and DC have followed suit as of December 2022. [19]

Of those living in the United States, 83.5% live in a state (or DC) with legal medical marijuana. Only 16.5% live in one of the 13 states without legal medical marijuana. [19] [45]

Additionally, polls and elections for more than 20 years have shown Americans united on the legalization of medical marijuana. [35]

Of 96 polls and elections collected by ProCon between 2000 and 2022, only three had less than 50% support for legalizing medical marijuana. Two were elections in South Dakota (Nov. 2006 and Nov. 2010); however, South Dakota legalized medical marijuana in 2020. [35]

The third was a poll of 960 physicians nationwide by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital for presentation to the American Society of Addiction Medicine in Apr. 2001. The doctors were split fairly evenly: 36% believed they should be able to legally prescribe medical marijuana, 26% were unsure, and 38% were against the practice. [35]

However, a 2021 study found 70.7% of physicians at the 2019 American College of Emergency Physicians’ Annual Conference “believed that cannabis has medical value,” and, further, that 79.6% of the physicians would choose marijuana over opioids if cannabis were found to be more effective, and 52.3% would choose marijuana if it were found to be equally as effective as opioids. [36]

Approval of legalization crosses party lines as well as age and race demographics in what Pew Research Center deemed “overwhelming support” in an Apr. 16, 2021, poll. Among Democrats, 95% believed medical marijuana should be legal, joined by 87% of Republicans. [21]

92% of white Americans would legalize medical marijuana, along with 91% of Black Americans, 89% of Asian Americans, and 87% of Hispanic Americans. [21]

The largest support among age groups for medical marijuana comes from those aged 18-29 (94%) and 65-74 (93%). However, no age group dropped below 85% approval (those aged 75+). [21]

Medical marijuana enjoys so much support among Americans that many now approve of the legalization of recreational marijuana as well. [21]

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