Vanderbilt Survey Confirms Changing Attitudes About Pot

May 21, 2014

A study released Wednesday by Vanderbilt University's Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions finds Tennesseans are becoming more open to the idea of decriminalizing marijuana, especially if it's used for medical reasons.

The survey of 1505 Tennesseans showed 44 percent believe medical marijuana should be legal.  And nearly a third (32 percent) say it should be legal for recreational use too.  Meanwhile, 22 percent say it should remain illegal.

The results mirror a Middle Tennessee State University poll released in February that reports 36 percent approve of medical marijuana and 33 percent believe it should be available for personal use.  In that poll, 18 percent opposed any legalization of pot.

While those results reflect a change in attitudes among Tennesseans, support for decriminalization still falls short of national sentiment.  An April 2013 Pew Research poll showed 52 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, the first time pot advocates outnumbered its detractors.