This Report Shows Police Wants Marijuana to be Legal

Marijuana’s expansion is incredible. Still, it may not be as jaw-dropping and surprising as the study released by the Pew Research CenterOpens a New Window. last month that showed a surprising group of individuals who want to see marijuana legalized on a national scale.

Between May and August of 2016, Pew interviewed a national sample of more than 7,900 police officers in local police and sheriff departments with at least 100 sworn officers to get their opinion on whether or not marijuana should be legalized nationally. Pew’s findings showed that:

  • 32% of the police officers believe cannabis should be legal for recreational and medical purposes nationally.
  • 37% of police officers want to see marijuana legalized nationally for medical use only.
  • 30% of police officers believe pot should remain illegal nationally.

You’ll note that rounding keeps the figures from adding perfectly to 100%, but that by more than a two-to-one margin police officers around the country would prefer to see marijuana at least legalized for medical use. Though within the margin of error of two to three percentage points, fully legalizing the drug is also slightly more popular than keeping it entirely illegal. Consistent with other previous studies, younger police officers are considerably more likely to favor some form of legalization than older police officers (ages 50 and up).

It’s worth pointing out that police officers were still notably more conservative in their views than the general public. Pew questioned more than 4,500 adults between August and September 2016 and found that 49% wanted to see cannabis legalized for a recreational and medical purpose; 35% wanted to see it legalized for medical use only, and just 15% opposed its national legalization. Once again, rounding keeps these figures from adding to 100%.


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