Majority in U.S. Support Medical Pot, Think It Could Fight Opioid Crisis

By Dennis Thompson | HealthDay |

Americans strongly support medical marijuana, and a majority also believe that pot should be legal for recreational purposes, a new HealthDay/Harris Poll has found.

Nearly nine out of every 10 adults — 85 percent — believe that marijuana should be legalized for medical use, the poll reports.

And more than half, 57 percent, support the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Many also believe there’s a role for medical marijuana in easing America’s ongoing opioid addiction crisis.

“Voters believe that ending America’s failed marijuana prohibition laws is a common sense issue, not a partisan one,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the reform advocacy group NORML.

“It’s time for their elected officials to take a similar posture, and to move expeditiously to amend federal law in a manner that comports with public and scientific consensus, as well as with marijuana’s rapidly changing cultural and legal status,” Armentano added.

But the poll also found that people do not support a Wild West approach to pot either.

Four out of five said that medical marijuana should be regulated like other medicines, including U.S. Food and Drug Administration oversight and prescriptions from a medical professional.

The most common reason for lack of support for medical marijuana is concern about pot getting into the wrong hands (for example, kids and pets), with 57 percent of opponents citing that rationale.

Among those who don’t support marijuana for recreational use, a little more than two in three believe legalization would allow marijuana to get into the wrong hands.

The online poll included more than 2,000 U.S. adults and was conducted in mid-July.

“Opposition to marijuana — whether for medical or recreational use — comes down to fear of it getting into the wrong hands,” said Deana Percassi, managing director of the Harris Poll’s public relations research practice.

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