Polls: Marijuana Prohibition’s Days Are Numbered
2 of the country’s top polling organizations have released surveys this month showing support for marijuana legalization continues to increase and is now at record highs.
The Gallup figure is +2 points over last year, while Pew number is +1.
More impressively, the percentage of people supporting legalization nationwide has 2X’d since Y 2000, when both polls reported support at only 31%.
“There is a growing sense among the US population that it is time to end our nation’s failed experiment with marijuana prohibition,” responded Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “People are sick and tired of adults being treated like criminals simply for consuming a substance that is, by every objective measure, less harmful than alcohol. Americans are more informed about cannabis than ever before, and they can now see that regulation is a viable and effective alternative to prohibition.”
Gallup’s levels of support are slightly more favorable toward legalization than Pew’s, most likely due to methodological differences. In addition to the 7-point spread between the 2 on legalization, Pew, for example, reports a majority of Republicans still opposing legalization, while Gallup reports a first-time Republican majority in favor.
Pro-marijuana majorities can now be found across every demographic measured in the Gallup poll.
Not only 53% of Republicans, but 71% of independents and three-quarters of Democrats want to free the weed, now even older Americans do, too.
For the 1st time, a majority of those aged 55 and over (59%) support legalization, along with 2 in 3 adults (67%) between 35 and 44 and a 78% of 18-to-34-year-olds.
And support for legalization is now truly nationwide in the Gallup poll.
As recently as Y 2010, only the West reported a marijuana majority, but now support is at 65% in the West, Midwest, and South, and even 2 points higher in the East.
The Pew poll found a few demographic groups not reporting majorities for legalization.
In addition to Republicans, only 48% of Hispanics, 43% of White evangelicals, only 39 percent of the “Silent Generation” (people over age 75) could get behind it. But all other races, age groups, religious denominations, and educational levels reported majorities for legalization.
The poll numbers reflect an increasing acceptance of weed as the country grows accustomed to the idea of marijuana being sold in stores instead of on the streets and in alleys.
Nine states, the District of Columbia, and the territory of the Northern Marshall Islands already have legal marijuana, and another 21 allow for medical marijuana.
Four more states are voting on marijuana next month; Michigan and North Dakota on legalization, and Missouri and Utah on medical marijuana. And marijuana may also play a role in the congressional races. The Democrats are already embracing it, and Republicans risk being left out.
“There are not many issues out there that enjoy majority support among both of the major political parties and in every region of the country,” said MPP’s Hawkins. “This support is consistently translating into wins at the ballot box, and it should further motivate elected officials to take action at the state and federal levels. Hopefully, lawmakers are paying attention to this clear trend in public opinion. If they ignore these poll numbers, they do so at the risk of seeing a drop in their own.”
Have a terrific weekend