A poll released earlier this month showed that 85% of all voters agree that adults should be allowed to use cannabis for medicinal purposes if a physician prescribes it. This means that 9 out of every 10 Americans believe that medical marijuana should be legal; the highest level of public support ever reported. Although respondents were divided on whether they believed that most patients truly needed medical marijuana.
Currently, 18 states and Washington D.C. have enacted laws that authorize medical marijuana and numerous more states have laws pending in state legislatures. Some of these states include Illinois, New Hampshire, and New York.
Yet despite the overwhelming public support for medical marijuana law reform, there is still little federal support. House Bill 689, the States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act currently only has less than 4% of the entire U.S. House of Representatives behind it. A bi-partisan group of US representatives have also introduced legislation known as the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act (House Bill 1523), but it is unknown whether this will get passed in the near future.
While the majority of Americans have warmed to the idea of legalizing medical marijuana, less than half the population are in support of broader legalization for recreational use. In fact, only 46% of voters favored broader legalization of marijuana. At the present time, only 2 states have voted to legalize recreational marijuana—Colorado and Washington.