In response to this question, 89 percent of respondents said they were in favor of the legalization of marijuana, either for medicinal purposes only (17 percent) or for both medicinal and recreational use (72 percent).
Some respondents said that the medical benefits of marijuana need to be acknowledged and noted that legalization would help people with chronic pain and illnesses. Mike Griffin of East Marion, N.Y., for example, wrote: “For some patients fighting chemotherapy or individuals suffering from frequent seizures, marijuana may be the only thing that provides relief or the most effective relief.” He added: “I am concerned with all the other drugs available to youth, including vaping and opiates.”
The most popular reason that people in favor of legalization gave was that it would prevent the criminal justice system from being overburdened by low-level offenders. Sally Monahan of Mahwah, N.J., was one of the 67 percent of respondents who gave this answer. “I believe this is a racial and social justice issue,” wrote Ms. Monahan. “I don’t see marijuana [as] any more difficult to regulate than alcohol.”
Roseanne Saah of Silver Spring, Md., concurred. “The ‘war on drugs’ has never been about helping people and keeping communities safe,” said Ms. Saah. “Republican and Democratic legislators and jurists have used low-level drug crimes to keep a system in place that punishes black and brown people as well as poor people, while enriching private prison contractors and disseminating tough-on-crime propaganda.”