Cannabis in America

Two-Thirds of Cops Support Legalizing Marijuana in Some Form

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Like most Americans, a majority of police officers think that marijuana laws should be relaxed, according to a new survey published Wednesday.

A Pew Research Center survey of nearly 8,000 policemen and women shows that 68 percent of cops favored relaxing marijuana laws in some form, with 32 percent saying that it should be legalized for both recreational and medical use. Only 30 percent said that weed should not be legal at all.

Participating law enforcement were less enthusiastic about marijuana legalization than the general public–84 percent said that marijuana laws should be relaxed. Only 15 percent of the public think that weed should remain illegal.

This data comes after eight states voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016. However, marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I drug under federal law–the same classification used for hard drugs like heroin, crack cocaine, LSD, and MDMA. Marijuana has not been linked to any overdose deaths, and its properties have been found to help alleviate the symptoms of terminal illnesses and diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and epilepsy.

Under the Trump administration, the future of marijuana policy is unclear. The momentum propelling legalization efforts could suddenly halt if Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Trump’s pick for Attorney General, chooses to enforce federal marijuana laws.

During his confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Sessions said he wouldn’t commit to never enforcing federal law for medical marijuana use. He was asked if he would use federal resources to investigate and prosecute sick people who are using marijuana in accordance with their state laws.

“Using good judgment about how to handle these cases will be a responsibility of mine. I know it won’t be an easy decision, but I will try to do my duty in a fair and just way,” said Sessions.

Even though marijuana’s immediate future remains unclear, the clear consensus emerging from the American public, and now cops, favors the relaxation of marijuana laws.

These findings come from an online poll of a nationally representative sample of 7,917 officers working in 54 police and sheriff’s departments administered between May 19-August 14, 2016.

Alexis Evans
Alexis Evans is an Assistant Editor at Law Street and a Buckeye State native. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a minor in Business from Ohio University. Contact Alexis at



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