Huge News: 52 Percent of Americans Now Support Legalizing Marijuana

PewPew"For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue," reports the Pew Research Center, "a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana. A national survey finds that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45% say it should not." 

Here's the demographic breakdown: 

The survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 13-17 among 1,501 adults, finds that young people are the most supportive of marijuana legalization. Fully 65% of Millennials –born since 1980 and now between 18 and 32 – favor legalizing the use of marijuana, up from just 36% in 2008. Yet there also has been a striking change in long-term attitudes among older generations, particularly Baby Boomers.

Half (50%) of Boomers now favor legalizing marijuana, among the highest percentages ever. In 1978, 47% of Boomers favored legalizing marijuana, but support plummeted during the 1980s, reaching a low of 17% in 1990. Since 1994, however, the percentage of Boomers favoring marijuana legalization has doubled, from 24% to 50%.

Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, came of age in the 1990s when there was widespread opposition to legalizing marijuana. Support for marijuana legalization among Gen X also has risen dramatically – from just 28% in 1994 to 42% a decade later and 54% currently.

The Silent Generation continues to be less supportive of marijuana legalization than younger age cohorts. But the percentage of Silents who favor legalization has nearly doubled –from 17% to 32% – since 2002.

H/t Tom Angell

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  • ||

    What the hell is the Silent Generation? And why do they hate our freedom?

  • A Serious Man||

    (Opens mouth to speak, but remains silent)

  • Almanian!||

    You bastard!!

    *shakes fist*

  • ||

    You have no mouth, but you must scream?

  • Zeb||

    I've never heard of "the silent generation" before. Is that the new name for people born after 1980?

  • Ray||

    No, before 1946 but too young to fight in WWII.

  • Zeb||

    Hm. Well, the idea of clearly delineated generational cohorts is stupid anyway.

  • bmp1701||

    It's largely another term for the "Greatest Generation". People who were children during the Great Depression and WWII.

  • bmp1701||

    Except younger members of the Silent Generation could not have fought during WWII.

  • John Thacker||

    Which means it's actually a term different from the Greatest Generation. It's the group that was neither celebrated for making the World Safe for Democracy, nor for discovering Sex and Drugs, the group in between.

  • Hugh Akston||

    What's the margin of error?

  • Almanian!||

    Plus or minus your mom.

    /Epi

  • ||

    Bam!

  • ||

    HEYOOOOOO

  • Hugh Akston||

    I won't even dignify that with a YouTube link.

  • Doctor Whom||

    According to Pew's site, the the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

  • bmp1701||

    So, a very wide margin of error? Not a very useful poll.

  • buddhastalin||

    A 2.9% error is not that large at all, and is in line with what you normally see from legitimate pollsters. The fact that the difference between support and opposition is more than twice the sampling error makes it much more likely that there really is more support than opposition to legalizing marijuana.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    52 percent of poll respondents support it. America, on the other hand, is a soccer mom who listens to local news who get their information from law enforcement. They don't support it.

  • Dweebston||

    Which is sad, considering 45% continue to endorse four decades of policy failure and, what, fully a century of reality failure?

    This is not a glamorous moment.

  • Almanian!||

    I'm SOOOOOOO wasted!

  • $park¥||

    ERMAGERD! DRERGZ!

  • bmp1701||

    THE NEGROES ARE COMING WITH THEIR JAZZ MUSIC AND STYLISH CLOTHING! THEY'VE COME FOR THE INNOCENT WHITE WIMMENZ!"

  • wakeup||

    Pot isn't illegal because the paper industry is afraid of competing with hemp -- it's because of racism and the culture wars.

  • $park¥||

    WUT?!? NO WAI!!!

  • sarcasmic||

    What about the police who rely on marijuana laws to get dirt bags off the streets?

    What about the prosecutors and defense attorneys who rely on pot laws for much of their business?

    What about treatment professionals who get a lot of business from court mandated treatment?

    What about jails and prison that rely on marijuana offenders for much of their business?

    What about SWAT teams who need marijuana as an excuse to break into homes and murder people?

    I mean, there's a whole industry built around marijuana prohibition! Think of the children!

  • SumpTump||

    Those guys really do seem to know whats going on over there. W@Ow.

    www.GoPrivacy.tk

  • ||

    it looks like since 1991 there was a pretty obvious trend that this was going to happen.

    Where were the predictions?

  • John Thacker||

    Huh? From 1991 to 1996 it hadn't even gotten back to its late '70s peak. I don't think anyone could have called it a "pretty obvious trend" then.

  • Robert||

    People could've seen what Niederhoffer calls a Lobagola move.

  • Robert||

    I'm very interested in finding out what causes secular trends in polls. But then, if people knew how to account for them and predict them, that'd really be something.

    I'd especially like to know what caused the previous slide in support among the Boomers. Jacob Sullum had a Reason article over a decade ago that sort-of-explained the backlash that'd occurred against pot, but all it really explained was the arousal of vehemence among those who were already opposed. Were they that influential among people previously undecided or on the other side?

    However, I do have an idea of a factor pushing things up lately: the success of favorable state laws. It's the teaching function of the law. Things do sometimes run in reverse, people's morals being formed by the laws rather than vice versa. If it's legal, it must be OK, so that's what I think.

  • Robert||

    Another factor that might've contributed to the slide in support by Boomers was their getting married & becoming parents, both of which have a social conservatizing effect on views.

  • jeffreyfadness@gmail.com||

    America is goin to pot and more groups want in on the action: http://jefffadness.blogspot.co.....r-did.html ...

  • godzleaf||

    So if I understand this correctly, generally speaking 42 percent of our communty believe the other 54 percent of our community should be behind bars or at least treated like criminals in some way for ingesting this substance.

    Even if 75 percent of our community believed the other 25 percent of our community belonged in jail (for just about any reason) that would be some pretty silly shit! But noooooo, the drug war continues.

    And Satan laughing spreads his wings.

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