As legalization fever sweeps the land and California anticipates a chance to vote on recreational marijuana next year, a new poll says a solid majority of Americans supports legitimizing cannabis.
The Gallup organization this week said that 58 percent of U.S. adults think weed should be legal. “Americans’ support for legalizing marijuana is the highest Gallup has measured to date,” the organization said.
The approval number for weed has hovered at or above the majority level, 56 percent or greater, since 2013, Gallup said in a statement. But because the younger you get, the more you favor it, support for legalization will only “continue to grow in the future,” Gallup says.
Of course, in recent years the data have been totally pro-pot, but it wasn’t always that way. Gallup says:
Americans’ support for legal marijuana has steadily grown over time. When Gallup first asked the question, in 1969, 12% of Americans thought marijuana use should be legal, with little change in two early 1970s polls. By the late 1970s, support had increased to about 25%, and held there through the mid-1990s. The percentage of Americans who favored making use of the drug legal exceeded 30% by 2000 and was higher than 40% by 2009.
This doesn’t mean, however, that if we held a national vote on cannabis legalization that it would win.
More than seven in 10 young adults (ages 18-34) favors legalization. Seniors (those 65+) comprise the only group opposed to pot legalization. But young people don’t vote as much.
Gallup surveyed 1,015 adults in all 50 states. If it had looked instead at registered voters, who tend to be older and more conservative, the results probably wouldn’t have been so positive.
That’s why you need to register to vote, and then actually vote. Still, this is great news. Tom Angell, Chairman of the Marijuana Majority, says:
These days it’s not especially exciting to see yet another poll showing majority support for legalizing marijuana, but 58 percent is very strong share of the American people calling for change, and elected officials should listen. The constant stream of surveys showing public support for ending prohibition is why we’re seeing an increasing number of national politicians saying that it’s time to at least let states implement their own laws without federal interference. And we’re also seeing a growing number candidates endorsing legalization outright, which shows how mainstream this issue is now. As more states implement marijuana reforms and those laws continue to work as advertised, we’re likely to see even more public support, which should soon spur Congress to formally end the criminalization of cannabis under federal law.