Record Support for Legalizing Marijuana in the United States

Michele Moreno
October 26, 2017

To put that in perspective, only 12% of Americans supported legalization that year. A majority of Democrats supported it for the first time in 2009, a figure that rose to 72 percent this year.

In late November 2012, following the states of Colorado and Washington voting to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, the Gallup marijuana poll showed support of legalization at 48 percent.

A new Gallup poll found that 64 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana. "Despite threatening rhetoric from some Trump administration officials, Americans' support for regulating marijuana like alcohol only continues to rise year over year", said Tom Angell, founder of the cannabis advocacy group Marijuana Majority in a statement responding to the poll results.

"It makes sense that support for ending marijuana prohibition is increasing", said Morgan Fox, the director of communications for Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest organization devoted to reforming cannabis laws.

For the first time since that 1969 poll, a majority of Republican voters told Gallup they are in favor of legalizing marijuana. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points. Direct experience with marijuana was most common among 30-to-49-year-olds, 51 percent of whom said they had tried it, and least common among respondents 65 or older, only 23 percent of whom said they had.

The trajectory of Americans' views on marijuana is similar to that of their views on same-sex marriage over the past couple of decades. "Attorney General Jeff Sessions could find himself out of step with his own party if the current trends continue", Gallup wrote. In both cases, the change appears to be rooted in cultural and societal changes that have recognized that previous attitudes were based on incomplete information or biases that simply weren't true. In the case of marriage equality, numerous changes in the law came through court rulings that found the laws against same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional and it was ultimately a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide. "That bodes well for efforts to pass cannabis laws in more states in 2018 - both on the ballot and through state legislatures". At this point it's not a matter of if, but when.

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