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.
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 marijuana1 and 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:
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. (See graph on next page.) 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%).
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 https://bit.ly/2t0TGAS
2. National Conference of State Legislatures. (2020). Marijuana Overview. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/37v7YIV
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 https://bit.ly/2uGzmFh
Interact for Health regularly conducts research and collects data in order to monitor and evaluate our region’s health status and to measure public opinions about health policy.
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