It’s the sixth year in a row that support for marijuana legalization has increased.
More Americans than ever now believe that recreational marijuana should be legal, according to a new nationwide survey by Gallup.
According to the poll, a record high 66 percent of United States citizens over the age of 18 believe “the use of marijuana should be made legal.” It’s the sixth year in a row that support for marijuana legalization has risen, up from 58 percent in 2013. It is now at its highest since Gallup began surveying Americans on cannabis in 1969, when support was at 12 percent.
The survey revealed widespread support for legalization across all demographics.
Predictably, support was found to be highest among younger adults. Seventy-eight percent of Americans aged 18 to 34 years support legalizing marijuana, and about 65 percent of those between 35 and 54 favor legal cannabis. Of those aged 55 and older, 59 percent said they support marijuana legalization, a nine-point uptick since last year.
According to the poll, 75 percent of Democratic voters want legal marijuana, compared to 71 percent of independents, and 53 percent of Republican voters.
Support for legalization has reached the majority level and is about even in all U.S. regions. Around two-thirds of residents in the East (67 percent), Midwest (65 percent), South (65 percent), and West (65 percent) now favor ending prohibition.
The Gallup survey polled 1,019 U.S. adults from October 1 through October 10. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The Gallup data is consistent with those of other national polls, including a recent survey from Pew Research Center.
Support for Cannabis Not Reflected in Laws
The newest poll data from Gallup arrived just one week after Canada became the second country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana. In the United States, while nine states and Washington, D.C. have passed their own laws allowing the recreational marijuana use, marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
“It is time for lawmakers of both parties to en masse acknowledge the data-driven and political realities of legalization,” said National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) political director Justin Strekal, commenting on the survey’s results.
“It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and implement common-sense, evidence-based regulations governing cannabis’ personal use and licensed production by responsible adults. An outright majority of every demographic, including age, political party, and region of the country support the outright legalization of marijuana.”
Recreational marijuana legalization measures will be on the ballot in Michigan and North Dakota next month. In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy has committed to legalizing marijuana as soon as possible and is in the midst of working with state legislators to craft legislation.
Thirty states plus Washington, D.C. have enacted legislation allowing the medical use of marijuana. Voters in Missouri and Utah will decide on medical marijuana measures in November.