New Gallup Survey: A Majority of Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana Use

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The latest Gallup poll shows a record high of 50 percent of Americans in favor of legalizing marijuana use. This follows a consistent upward trend, picking up speed in 2006 when 36 percent of Americans favored marijuana legalization.

 

Support for Making Use of Marijuana Legal

A majority of Americans from the East, Midwest, and West, men, liberals, moderates, and independents, Democrats, and individuals ages 18-49 support legalizing the use of marijuana. In contrast, majorities are not reached among women, Republicans, conservatives, individuals over 50, and those from the South.

 

Gallup Poll Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 6-9, 2011, with a random sample of 1,005 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

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  1. This two part plan is the only action the citizens of the US need to take to end federal marijuana prohibition
    1) EVERYONE that sees these links sign up at both sites and weigh in on the debate
    – pvox.co/CdiFqY
    – wh.gov/gDQ
    2) Propagate those two links and ensure that everyone that sees them go to both those sites.

    Too many people are blaming the President for enforcing the federal marijuana prohibition. Contact Congress (the LEGISLATIVE branch [that’s the important one when it comes to law]) via the first link. Contact Obama (the EXECUTIVE branch [until Obama vetos a passed H.R. 2306 it’s on Congress – but tell Obama anyway]) via the second link. It really is THAT easy. Participate in democracy!

    1. I think you are all missing the point – and that is that the only demographic that matters is congress – they are older, stand a lot to gain by prohibition, and are VERY UNLIKELY to change their minds because of a few emails here and there.

      I personally believe they have large contributors who like things exactly the way they are for a wide variety of reasons.

  2. Yay!

    It was really inevitable, like decriminalization itself. If you just look at the demographic split between 18-29 and 65+, you see that attitudes have changed in different generations, and that demographic momentum is on our side.

    1. you people are all crazy. I don’t know a singe person that is in favor of legalizing “MJ” and I know quite a few people. This information (I hesitate to call it data) is very suspect. You only find this level of support on Reason.

      1. JohnD

        Allow me to introduce myself. Francisco d Anconia, nice to meet you. Now you know one.

        All I’ll say of your friends and acquaintances is, please don’t invite me to any of your parties…the excitement would, I’m sure, be too much for me.

      2. It’s a Gallup Poll(they’re pretty well-respected pollsters), and you find it suspect simply because you don’t know “a single person” in favor of legalizing marijuana?

        I support legalization, as do the vast majority of the people that I know. I happen to live in Massachusetts, however, where possession of small quantities of marijuana has been de facto legalized.

        You’re probably surrounded by a group of like-minded people that agree with you on most things. You might want to conduct an informal survey though, just to make sure that you’re correct. I’d be really interested to hear the results.

        1. I agree it should be legal.

      3. It’s a Gallup Poll(they’re pretty well-respected pollsters), and you find it suspect simply because you don’t know “a single person” in favor of legalizing marijuana?

        I support legalization, as do the vast majority of the people that I know. I happen to live in Massachusetts, however, where possession of small quantities of marijuana has been de facto legalized.

        You’re probably surrounded by a group of like-minded people that agree with you on most things. You might want to conduct an informal survey though, just to make sure that you’re correct. I’d be really interested to hear the results.

  3. I am from the south, male, 46, very conservative but an independant…never smoke MJ (cant stand the stuff).
    I firmly believe the only damage that would result from legalization would be to the budgets of every component of the CJS. The ‘war on drugs’ is one of the most damaging policies ever devised and must come to an end. I am all for legalization.

  4. What was the question again?

  5. Marijuana should be legalized, and regulated as wine is:
    -no consumption under age
    -no driving vehicle while affected

    The usual arguments against it are:
    1-‘gateway drug’
    —this is true of ALL drugs, and has nothing to do, specifically, with marijuana

    2-it negatively affects driving
    —that should affect its REGULATION
    —not its legality

    3-‘addictive’
    —it is habit-forming, but so are non-drugs | it is not chemically addictive; as cigarettes, alcohol, and many other drugs are – there is no risk of tremors or health concerns for even a very heavy user to quit ‘cold-turkey’

    Prohibition of alcohol failed
    and it is time we determined the prohibition of marijuana failed as well.
    Regulate it, Tax it, and move on.

    http://lrmjd.blogspot.com/

  6. The “gateway drug” concept is a logical fallacy. Think of it this way: to get to New York from Miami, you have to drive through Washington DC. But not everyone that drives from Miami to DC is going to necessarily go to New York.

    Another way to debunk the fallacy is that most crack smokers drink beer. Why isn’t beer being targeted as a “gateway beverage”?

    1. The most damaging gateway substance is water! Every single addict started with water!

      1. Breathing leads straight to drinking water! Down with breathing! Let’s strangle the problem at its source! Mothers against breathing! Air is a gateway drug! Oxidation is Evil! Don’t make friends with anyone named “Rusty”!

  7. One cocaine use for about 115big marijuna users, where is the facts behind ‘gateway’? I smoked cigarettes and drank liquor first like many people.

  8. I’m a 23 year old conservative, Christian male from Texas, never smoked anything other than a few celebratory cigars, never will try marijuana, but I say absolutely legalize it.

    Let’s take a lesson from Prohibition and realize that criminalizing a substance does nothing to help anyone and actually helps the drug cartels and mobsters. And where do terrorists get a majority of their funding from? Drug trafficking and sales.

    Legalizing drugs allows it to become an honest business, drives the prices down, pumps money into the economy instead of the black market, and you can tax/regulate it just like alcohol/tobacco. Now that’s a plan for anti-terrorism, helps the poor, and boosts govt. revenue in a time of debt crisis. Everyone wins.

  9. High quality and inexpensive you deserve

  10. I really enjoy reading your blog as the postings are so simple to read and follow. Outstanding. Please keep it up. Thanks.’

  11. I firmly believe the only damage that would result from legalization would be to the budgets of every component of the CJS.
    I am from the south, male, 46, very conservative but an independant…never smoke MJ.

  12. I’m just wondering why we can’t have legalization as a proposition on the national ballot and let the people decide, rather than the old ‘reefer madness’ farts in Congress. My Arizona congressman (Trent Franks) told me he’d never support legalization because it’s a threat to our “mechanized workforce” and 85% of inmates are there for alcohol/drug related crimes. Huh? But then Arizona is really into privatized for-profit prisons……

  13. I really enjoy reading your blog as the postings are so simple to read and follow. Outstanding.One cocaine use for about 115big marijuna users, where is the facts behind ‘gateway’? I smoked cigarettes and drank liquor first like many people.

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  15. Let’s take a lesson from Prohibition and realize that criminalizing a substance does nothing to help anyone and actually helps the drug cartels and mobsters. And where do terrorists get a majority of their funding from? Drug trafficking and sales.

  16. I really enjoy reading your blog as the postings are so simple to read and follow. Outstanding. Please keep it up. Thanks.’

  17. The reason I keep reading Reason is that as a liberal, civil libertarian there is a lot to like. While we may disagree (OK it might devolve into a knife fight) on social policy, we do seem to agree on a couple of things that would greatly improve the republic and solve many of our social and financial problems.

    The first two are: end the war on drugs; and stop the “garrison the planet” mentality. If liberals and libertarians could only acheive these goals against the will of the corporatist/statist major parties much could be gained.

    Then we could fight about poverty and disease and state overreach from a much better starting point.

    My question is how the heck do we leave the culture wars off the table long enough to acheive a couple of things both sides want?

  18. Once a bathroom gets too dirty, there isn’t an easy way to clean it. In most cases it will be necessary to use harsh cleaning products on countertops, walls and grout. No doubt, a toothbrush will come into use for removing the dirt from tiles and corners, but this is excruciating task by itself.

  19. If it took a constitutional amendment to create the prohibition on alcohol, and ANOTHER to end it, how is it that ANY other substance can be illegal without amending our constitution?

    Think about it…

    I would love to understand how we we started down this seemingly illegal road.

  20. I sadly see this decision as an inevitability. We live under psuedo legalization in Colorado and the ill effects are just beginning to emerge. If legalization is unavoidable, I just hope we tax it similarly to tobacco and add the necessary criminal penalties for intoxication while driving as well as under age consumption. Legalizing it, grossly over simplifies the larger toll we pay. In Colorado, “Medical Marijuana” is recognized as a scam with the majority of purchase and use not coming from legitimate reasons. I envision a stoned student population and wonder what price we will pay.

    1. I understand your concern.. Here is something to consider, however: In the Netherlands marijuana has been decriminalized since the 80’s. Since then the consumption rates of this substance have dropped among the Dutch population. They now have per-capita marijuana consumption rates that are far lower than say, Germany, it’s neighbor. Apparently, since it is affordable, widely available and not illegal, the Dutch approach it much like we Americans look at cigarettes. Not a healthy choice. But unlike cigarettes people are far less likely to get addicted and therefor more likely to try it and decide for themselves they don’t like it. Keep in mind as well that-aside for the euro crisis- the Dutch economy is stronger than our own. Test scores are higher and they have a better trained workforce, on average. Clearly it hasn’t ruined their student population.

  21. I envision a stoned student population and wonder what price we will pay.

  22. said he would enforce anti-pornography laws that the Obama administration has ignored

  23. Reason-Rupe Q3 2011 poll collected a nationally representative sample of 1200 respondents, aged 18 and older from all 50 states and the District of Columbia using live telephone interviews from August 9-18 2011. The margin of sampling error for this poll is ? 3 percent. The margin of error for the GOP presidential race numbers is ? 4.79 percent. Interviews were conducted with respondents using both landline (790) and mobile phones (410). Landline respondents were randomly selected within households based on the adult who had the most recent birthday. Sample was weighted by gender, age, ethnicity, and Census region, based on the most recent US Census data. The sampling frame included landline and mobile phone numbers generated using Random Digit Dialing (RDD) methods and randomly selected numbers from a directory-listed sample. Clickhere for full methodological details. NSON Opinion Strategy conducted the poll’s fieldwork. View full methodology. – ????? ??????
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