Everyone Wants the Federal Gov. to Keep off the Kush

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The Gist: The majority of US Adults, regardless of political affiliation, don’t think the federal government should be involved in state marijuana legalization.

Last week brought the national marijuana debate to the forefront once again when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he would rescind the Obama-era policy that deprioritized prosecuting marijuana businesses in states where cannabis is legal.

More symbolic than anything, federal prosecutors will likely prioritize more pressing drug cases, the action will still have ramifications for the states’ rights debate. We know that a majority of US Adults think marijuana should be legal in some capacity, but what are their takes on state versus federal legalization?

  • 28% of US Adults think “The federal government should enforce all federal marijuana laws, even in states where it is legal.”
  • 29% of US Adults think “The federal government should only intervene when marijuana businesses are not following state laws.”
  • 43% of US Adults think “The federal government should not get involved at all where marijuana is legal.”

A majority of US Adults don’t think the federal government should get involved with marijuana in states where it’s legal. If you factor in those who believe the federal government should only get involved when marijuana businesses are breaking other laws (such as selling to minors or across state lines, which was a provision of the Obama-era Cole Memo) 71% of US Adults believe that at its core, marijuana prosecution, or lack thereof, should be left to the states.  

In a decidedly divided time, both parties might agree on this. Those who think the federal government shouldn’t get involved at the state level are almost split between parties.

While the federal fate of marijuana is unknown at this time, our data shows the majority of US Adults, regardless of party line, believe legalization and enforcement should be decided on a state by state basis.

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