Most Americans have tried marijuana and 60% want it legalized

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
May 08, 2024, 9:00 PM GMT+0

New polling conducted just before the Biden administration announced plans to ease federal restrictions on marijuana finds that 60% of Americans support legalizing the drug, while half as many — 30% — are opposed. A little more than half of American adults have used marijuana, and most who have say their experiences with it have overall been positive.

The survey also asked about three other psychoactive drugs that activists have campaigned for legalizing, in part due to their potential therapeutic uses: psilocybin (magic mushrooms), LSD (acid), and MDMA (ecstasy, or molly). Far fewer have tried each of these drugs than have used marijuana, and fewer than one-third support their legalization.

Among the drugs included in the survey, marijuana is by far the most popular: 57% of adult citizens say they've used it, including 42% who have used it more than once. Just one in five (20%) have used psilocybin, and even fewer have tried LSD (16%) or MDMA (11%); about half of people who have used each of these drugs say they've used them more than once.

People who have tried each drug asked about generally have had good experiences with it. More than half of users say their experience with each drug has been mostly positive, and about one-quarter say they've been equally positive and negative. Roughly one in five say their experiences with each drug were mostly negative — except psilocybin, for which the share is a much lower 8%.

While Americans are far more likely to support than oppose legalizing marijuana in the U.S. (60% vs. 30%), far fewer are in favor of legalizing other drugs: 27% support legalizing psilocybin, 16% MDMA, and 15% LSD.

People who have tried each drug are more likely to favor legalizing it than people who haven't. A total of 78% of marijuana users support its legalization. 63% of psilocybin users want psilocybin legalized, and 55% of MDMA users support MDMA legalization. There is more division among LSD users regarding its legalization: 38% would support it and 43% would oppose it.

Another survey conducted last month found that most Americans support expunging marijuana-related convictions for nonviolent offenders, and a majority believe that legalizing marijuana would benefit the economy. Majorities think it can have health benefits and is less harmful to a person's health than alcohol or tobacco.

— Carl Bialik contributed to this article


See the results for this YouGov poll

Methodology: This poll was conducted online on April 25 - 28, 2024 among 1,134 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 4%.

Image: Getty (Heath Korvola)

Explore more data & articles