Research

Annual Gallup Poll Shows Record High Support for Making Marijuana Legal

Oct 19, 2016 Morgan Fox

gallup, majority, poll, public support

Every year for nearly half a century, Gallup has conducted a poll to determine national support for making marijuana legal in the United States. The latest report shows the largest level of support in the history of the poll.

Gallup reports:

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With voters in several states deciding this fall whether to legalize the use of marijuana, public support for making it legal has reached 60% -- its highest level in Gallup's 47-year trend.

Marijuana use is currently legal in four states and the District of Columbia, and legalization measures are on the ballot in five more -- California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada -- this November. As a result, the percentage of Americans living in states where pot use is legal could rise from the current 5% to as much as 25% if all of these ballot measures pass.

When Gallup first asked this question in 1969, 12% of Americans supported the legalization of marijuana use. In the late 1970s, support rose to 28% but began to retreat in the 1980s during the era of the "Just Say No" to drugs campaign. Support stayed in the 25% range through 1995, but increased to 31% in 2000 and has continued climbing since then.

In 2013, support for legalization reached a majority for the first time after Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Since then, a majority of Americans have continued to say they think the use of marijuana should be made legal.

A Pew Research Center poll released earlier in October showed national support at 57%, which was also a record for that survey.

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Research

Gallup Poll: Majority of Americans Support Making Marijuana Legal

A new Gallup poll shows that a record 58% of Americans think that marijuana should be made legal.

[caption id="attachment_7030" align="alignright" width="417"]Gallup trends Source: Gallup[/caption]

The poll shows a 10-point increase from just last year and reflects the growing political support nationwide. According to the poll, 62% of Independents, 65% of Democrats, and 35% of Republicans support legal marijuana, with growing Independent support largely responsible for the 10-point jump.

According to Business Insider, support for legal marijuana is higher than almost any other political movement. More people favor legal marijuana than think highly of the Republican or Democratic parties, and legal marijuana has more than five times the support that Congress has.

While causes with more support than Congress aren’t hard to come by, this poll marks a momentous event in the fight against marijuana prohibition. For the first time, a majority of Americans think that marijuana use should be legal. Hopefully, they won’t have to wait long.

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Tax and Regulate

National Poll Shows 50% of Americans Support Making Marijuana Legal

A new Gallup poll shows that 50% of voters nationwide answered “Yes” to the question, “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?” Only 46% of respondents answered “No.” This is the first time on record that more Americans support ending marijuana prohibition than support maintaining the status quo of arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana possession. Support for marijuana reform has been growing steadily over the last few decades, but this poll shows a 4% increase over last year, when Gallup asked respondents the same question.

Opinions were heavily divided by age, with support being strongest among 18-29 year olds (62%) and 30-49 year olds (56%). The results were also quite divided geographically, with the highest support coming from the West, Midwest, and East.

“This is an historic day in the decades-long war on marijuana. As of today, a majority of the American public believes the use of marijuana should be legal for adults,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Moreover, it is clear from the levels of support among various age groups that support will only increase over time. None of this is surprising. Americans know that prohibition is a failed policy. It was true for alcohol, and it is true for marijuana, a substance far less harmful than alcohol. The American people are clearly saying it is time to stop arresting adults for using marijuana. Now it is time for our elected officials to listen to the public.”

This poll comes at an interesting time, with many states re-examining their marijuana laws and a series of bills sitting before Congress that would limit federal involvement in marijuana policy. Currently, the Obama administration is reversing its earlier stance of non-interference in medical marijuana states and is increasing efforts to shut down the medical marijuana industry in California and elsewhere, a move that experts say will drive medical marijuana patients into the criminal market to obtain their medicine. At the same time, several states, including Colorado, California, and Washington, are considering ballot initiatives that would tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

The poll, conducted October 6-9 by Gallup, surveyed 1,005 registered voters from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It is available for download at http://www.gallup.com/poll/150149/Record-High-Americans-Favor-Legalizing-Marijuana.aspx

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