74% Of Americans Live In A Legal Marijuana State, Research Finds

74% Of Americans Live In A Legal cannabis State, Research Finds

74% Of Americans Live In A Legal Marijuana State, Research Finds

Recent research has revealed a surprising statistic: approximately 74% of Americans now reside in a state where marijuana is legal in some form. This significant shift in the legal landscape reflects changing attitudes towards cannabis and its potential benefits. This article delves into the implications of this statistic, the factors contributing to this change, and the potential future of marijuana legalization in the United States.

The Current State of Marijuana Legalization

As of 2021, marijuana is fully legal for recreational use in 18 states and Washington D.C., while 37 states have legalized medical marijuana. This means that a significant majority of Americans now live in a state where they can legally access cannabis, whether for recreational or medicinal purposes.

Recreational Use

States like California, Colorado, and Washington were among the first to legalize recreational marijuana, setting a precedent for other states to follow. These states have seen significant economic benefits from the marijuana industry, including increased tax revenue and job creation.

Medicinal Use

Even more states have legalized marijuana for medicinal use, recognizing the potential benefits of cannabis for treating a variety of health conditions. Medical marijuana is often used to manage chronic pain, reduce nausea during chemotherapy, and treat conditions like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

Factors Contributing to Legalization

Several factors have contributed to the widespread legalization of marijuana across the United States. These include changing public opinion, economic benefits, and increasing recognition of the medicinal properties of cannabis.

Changing Public Opinion

Public opinion on marijuana has shifted dramatically over the past few decades. According to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey, two-thirds of Americans support marijuana legalization, a stark contrast to the mere 12% who supported it in 1969.

Economic Benefits

The marijuana industry has proven to be a significant economic driver in states where it’s legal. In 2020, the legal marijuana industry generated over $17.5 billion in sales, contributing to job creation and tax revenue.

Medicinal Properties

Research into the medicinal properties of cannabis has also played a role in its legalization. Studies have shown that marijuana can be effective in treating a variety of health conditions, leading many states to legalize it for medicinal use.

The Future of Marijuana Legalization

Given the current trend, it’s likely that more states will continue to legalize marijuana in the coming years. However, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, creating a complex legal landscape.

Federal Legalization

While the majority of states have legalized marijuana in some form, it remains a Schedule I drug under federal law. This classification means that the federal government considers marijuana to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, despite evidence to the contrary.

State Legalization

Despite the federal prohibition, states have the power to set their own marijuana policies. This has led to a patchwork of laws across the country, with some states fully legalizing marijuana and others only allowing it for medicinal use.


The fact that 74% of Americans now live in a state where marijuana is legal in some form is a testament to the changing attitudes towards cannabis in the United States. As more states recognize the economic and medicinal benefits of marijuana, it’s likely that this trend will continue. However, until marijuana is legalized at the federal level, the legal landscape will remain complex and varied across the country.

By C.N.W

Keywords: marijuana legalization, recreational marijuana, medicinal marijuana, public opinion, economic benefits, federal legalization


  • Pew Research Center. (2019). Two-thirds of Americans support marijuana legalization.
  • Marijuana Policy Project. (2021). Marijuana policy in the United States.
  • New Frontier Data. (2021). U.S. legal cannabis market growth.
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