NEW YORK, NY. 12 May, 2015 — Only a tiny 3-10 percent of adults believe marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol across a range of questions including driving impairment and mental health impacts. And four out of five Americans support legalization of medical marijuana, according to a Harris nationwide poll published last week.
The Harris Poll, and all other major pollsters over the past several years, have found support for legalizing recreational use continues to outpace opposition in a trend line driven by the millennial demographic, more than any other. Harris found Americans almost equally divided on legalization of recreational use, with 49 percent in favor, a result borne out by other significant polls. Pew Research Center found a slim majority of 53 percent in support in April 2015.
75 percent of adults think legalization will increase tax revenues, and 70 percent believe cannabis use will increase, figures virtually unchanged since 2011. Expectations are muddled around decriminalization with 36 percent of adults foreseeing a decrease in prison spending and a third also predicting the crime rate will decrease. About a quarter of respondents believe there will be no change at all.
Just over 20 percent expect worsening crime and arrests as a consequence of legalization; a similar number (22 percent) believe marijuana is more of a gateway substance than alcohol. However, marijuana was seen as equally or less dangerous or harmful than alcohol when it came to driving impairment and mental and physical health impacts. 3-10 percent of adults believed marijuana was more dangerous than alcohol.
SOURCE: The Harris Poll® #25, May 7, 2015