Americans by more than 2-to-1 support pardoning those convicted of violating federal laws prohibiting possession of pot, a USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds, demonstrating broad public support for the step President Joe Biden unexpectedly took last week.
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By an equally lopsided margin, 68%-30%, those surveyed support the governor of their state pardoning those convicted of marijuana possession in state courts, where most prosecutions occur.
The findings reflect how much attitudes toward marijuana have changed in recent decades. Twenty-seven states have fully or partially decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and 37 states permit marijuana for medical use.
Alabama to Wyoming:Here’s where marijuana laws stand in each state.
By 3-to-1, 72%-26%, Americans support changing federal law so marijuana is no longer classified as a Schedule 1 drug, a category meant for the most dangerous drugs.
By 67%-31%, they support federal pardons for marijuana possession.
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Support for pardons is particularly strong among Democrats and those 18 to 34 years old – two groups Democrats would like to energize before next month’s midterms.
“A month before Election Day, President Biden is looking for ways to remind his base he’s making good on his campaign promises,” said Ipsos President Cliff Young. “But for some Democratic candidates in swing states, they may now have to walk the fine line between being touch on crime and cool with cannabis.”.
More:Many Americans arrested for marijuana won’t find relief under Biden’s pardon plan.
The survey of 1,028 adults was conducted Friday through Sunday using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel, an online probability-based panel. The findings have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.
In the poll, Americans by 62%-33% agree with the statement that decriminalizing marijuana is an important step in correcting past racial injustices in the judicial system. Democrats hold that view by nearly 5-to-1.
Opinion:Federal ban on marijuana use causes more harm than good.
Most Republicans disagree. By 63%-32%, they say decriminalizing marijuana would lead to more crime, drug trafficking, and underage use.
Biden’s pardons have become an issue in some midterm campaigns.
In Pennsylvania’s crucial Senate election, Democratic nominee John Fetterman called it “a massive step toward justice.” But his GOP opponent, Mehmet Oz, has cited it as an example of Fetterman being soft on crime.
More than 7 in 10 of those surveyed said they had at least heard of Biden’s announcement, which was made Thursday, a high level of awareness in a short period of time.