War on Drugs

A New High: 50 Percent of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana


Don't worry about American youth, at least when it comes to the reefer. For the first time ever, 50 percent of Americans favor legalization of marijuana; and someone has been teaching the kids to be more sensible than the seniors.

Here's some demographics breakdown from Gallup:

Support for legalizing marijuana is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62% approval among those 18 to 29 down to 31% among those 65 and older. Liberals are twice as likely as conservatives to favor legalizing marijuana. And Democrats and independents are more likely to be in favor than are Republicans.

More men than women support legalizing the drug. Those in the West and Midwest are more likely to favor it than those in the South.

Gallup notes that the high point of opposition to legalization was 84 percent in 1969 (when Gallup first asked the question.) Only 12 percent of folks were hippies or sensible back then, it seems. However, the numbers have been crawling up towards support for legalization ever since.

Roll Call also points out something Reason has noticed, too—whenever the Obama administration asks the public what they want, legalization of marijuana is invariably a loud answer. Then comes the unfunny stoner jokes or just old-fashioned ignoring the issue.

Roll Call:

Marijuana legalization has been the top issue on the White House's new "We the People" petition site since it launched last month as a way for citizens to lobby for issues that matter most to them.

The marijuana petition already has more than 55,000 signatures — 20,000 more than any other issue on the site and much more than the 25,000-signature threshold administrators set to warrant an official response. The White House has not yet responded to the marijuana petition.

And so it has been each time the Obama administration engaged voters online: Marijuana legalization was among the most popular questions raised on Twitter, YouTube and Change.gov, the president's transition site.

The official response from Obama to this kind of cultural shift? Obviously to crack down on the most vulnerable users of this drug, violating state law and the president's previous promises ( the Obama disappointment has been extensively reported on by Jacob Sullum, particularly in Reason's October cover story) in the process.

Reason on marijuana.