Support marijuana leglaization reaches new heights

Support for marijuana legalization in the US is at an all time high of 68 percent, according to the latest polling from Gallup.

In 2019, the polling giant reported 66 percent of the country favored legalization while in 2017 it stood at 64 percent. Gallup first asked Americans their thoughts on legalizing cannabis in 1969 when only 12 percent were in favor. Marijuana legalization remained very much a minority position for three decades until the turn of the millennium when around a third of respondents started coming out in favor of it. By 2013, support for the measure exceeded 50 percent and it has consolidated into a strong majority in the years since.

“Since 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, there has been a slow trickle of states that have followed suit. Over that period, Americans’ support for marijuana legalization has risen 20 points to a record-high 68%,” a Gallup press release reads.

Notably, Gallup said support for ending federal cannabis prohibition is now a majority position across most demographic subgroups such as gender, age, income and education. That said, significant variations within each subgroup also exist, with young, college-educated, high-income men most likely to favor legalizing cannabis.

Republican support for the policy change dropped three points to 48 percent compared to last year, while regular church-goers and individuals who describe their political ideology as conservative are also marginally opposed to the measure by 52 percent and 51 percent respectively. On the other hand, support among Democrats has never been higher with 83 percent in favor, while 72 percent of Independents also back the move.

Gallup’s announcement comes days after five states approved marijuana reform ballot measures at the elections, including wins in traditionally conservative states such as Mississippi, Montana and South Dakota. In spite of marijuana legalization’s success in the ballot process and its commanding majority among Democrats, President-elect Joe Biden still refuses to support ending prohibition and instead pushes modest reforms such as decriminalization, expungement of marijuana-related convictions and an increased use of drug courts.

Gallup conducted its survey of 1,035 adults between September 30 and October 15 and reports a margin of error in its findings of four percentage points.

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