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Vast majority of Kentucky adults favor medical marijuana legalization

Feb 5, 2020


The 2019 Kentucky Health Issues Poll asked Kentucky adults several questions about marijuana, including whether they favor or oppose legalization and their knowledge of regular use. KHIP is sponsored by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Nine in 10 favor medical marijuana

States have been legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational purposes since the late 1990s. As of January 2020, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuanaand 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana.2 Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. 

KHIP asked adults their opinions about legalizing marijuana:

  • for medical purposes if their doctor recommends it.
  • under any circumstances.
  • for recreational purposes.3

Nine in 10 Kentucky adults (90%) favor allowing the purchase and use of marijuana for medical purposes if a doctor recommends it. Six in 10 adults (59%) support allowing marijuana under any circumstances. About half (49%) favor allowing marijuana for recreational purposes. Support has increased since KHIP last asked these questions in 2012.

Support for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes was strong across political parties. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to favor legalization under any circumstances (68% compared with 51%) and for recreational purposes (60% compared with 38%). More than 5 in 10 Independents favored allowing the purchase and use of marijuana for recreation (54%) as well as under any circumstances (59%).

Four in 10 know someone who regularly uses marijuana

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit substance in the United States.4 KHIP asked, “Do you have a friend or family member who regularly uses marijuana?” Four in 10 Kentucky adults (40%) said yes. This is the first time KHIP has asked this question. 4

1. National Conference of State Legislatures. (2020). State Medical Marijuana Laws. Retrieved from
2. National Conference of State Legislatures. (2020). Marijuana Overview. Retrieved from
3. KHIP asked, “Do you favor or oppose the Commonwealth of Kentucky allowing … residents to buy and use marijuana under any circumstances? … residents to buy and use marijuana for recreational purposes? … patients to buy and use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctors recommend it?”
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Marijuana and Public Health – Health Effects. Retrieved from

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