While support for across-the-board legalization of marijuana remains a minority position in America (only 41% favor it) most Americans (73%) do favor their state allowing the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes if it is prescribed by a doctor. Only 23% oppose allowing the sale and use of medical marijuana. Still, some concerns remain about making the currently illegal drug available by prescription. A little under half of the public (45%) say they would be at least somewhat concerned if medical marijuana was sold in their area. About the same percentage (46%) say allowing medical marijuana makes it easier for people to get marijuana even if they don’t have a real medical need — though just 26% of Americans say this is something that concerns them. These concerns are highest among opponents of legalizing medical marijuana. Americans older than age 65 (63%) and conservative Republicans (54%) are the least likely to support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, but even among these groups legalization is a majority opinion. There is no difference in opinion among Americans living in states that have passed medical marijuana laws and those that have not. A majority (55%) of those who do not favor general legalization say that the sale and use of medical marijuana should be allowed. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.