Americans Not Convinced Marijuana Benefits SocietyPosted by On

Story Highlights

  • Americans are split over whether marijuana is good or bad for society
  • The slight majority say marijuana has a positive effect on most users
  • 16% report they smoke marijuana, with rates higher among young adults

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans are evenly split in their views about marijuana’s effect on society, with 49% considering it positive and 50% negative. They are slightly more positive about the drug’s effect on people who use it, with 53% saying it’s positive and 45% negative.


People’s own experience with marijuana is highly related to their views on both questions.

  • Large majorities of adults who say they have ever tried marijuana — which is nearly half of Americans — think marijuana’s effects on users (70%) and society at large (66%) are positive.
  • Conversely, the majority of those who have never tried marijuana think its effects are negative: 72% say this about its effect on society and 62% about its effect on users.


Americans’ ambivalence about the effects of marijuana contrasts with their widespread support for legalization. According to Gallup’s latest measure, 68% of U.S. adults, tied for the record high, think marijuana should be legal.

Also, although Americans have not reached a…

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