Legalizing marijuana would more than double the potential market for the drug, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.
Results show that 26 percent of Americans say they would buy marijuana at least on rare occasions if it was legal in their state, compared to 9 percent who said they buy it at least on rare occasions now. The percentage who said they would buy marijuana often, jumped from 1 percent who do so now to 4 percent who would buy if it was legal.
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When asked about their buying frequency, 18 percent of respondents said they would buy marijuana more often than they do now if it was legal. That includes 16 percent who said they never buy marijuana now but would, at least on rare occasions, if it was legal to do so.
Respondents under age 30 were most likely to say both that they would buy marijuana if it was legal (35 percent) and that they do so now (16 percent). But even among those 65 and older -- almost none of whom said they ever buy marijuana now -- 9 percent said they would buy it at least occasionally if it was legal.
Marijuana would be unlikely to squeeze other legal drugs of choice out of the market for Americans, though. To start with, there are more potential buyers for both alcohol and tobacco products, than for marijuana products. Overall, 81 percent of respondents said they have used alcohol in the past and 61 percent have used cigarettes, but only 41 percent have tried marijuana. Another 11 percent said they would consider trying it if it was legal.
Among those who have tried alcohol in the past and would at least consider trying marijuana, 43 percent said that they would still buy alcohol more often and only 23 percent said they would buy marijuana more often if it was legal.
Those who had tried cigarettes and would at least consider trying marijuana were somewhat more likely to say that they would buy marijuana rather than cigarettes if both were legal, by a 37 percent to 31 percent margin. Eighteen percent of all respondents have used tobacco products but would never consider trying marijuana, while only 9 percent would at least consider trying marijuana even though they have never used tobacco products.
Respondents to the poll were divided in how they predicted legalizing marijuana would affect its cost. Twenty-nine percent said they thought the price would increase if it was legal, 25 percent said they thought it would decrease, and 15 percent said they would expect the price to remain about the same.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Oct. 19-20 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.