Gallup Poll Finds 58% of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana


Gallup Poll

According to a new Gallup poll, 58 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana—the largest percentage ever in that survey. "Success at the ballot box in the past year in Colorado and Washington may have increased Americans' tolerance for marijuana legalization," Gallup says. "Support for legalization has jumped 10 percentage points since last November and the legal momentum shows no sign of abating."

Gallup's survey asks, "Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?" That leaves open the question of whether commercial production and distribution should be legal as well (as in Colorado and Washington). But other national polls that go beyond marijuana consumption also have found majority support for legalization. In a Reason-Rupe survey last January, for example, 53 percent of respondents said "the government should treat marijuana the same as alcohol." And last month a Public Policy Polling survey in Texas found that 58 percent of respondents either "somewhat" or "strongly" supported "changing Texas law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol, where stores would be licensed to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older." The latter finding was especially striking given the state's conservative reputation.

In the Gallup poll, "Public support for legalization more than doubled in the 1970s, growing to 28%. It then plateaued during the 1980s and 1990s before inching steadily higher since 2000, reaching 50% in 2011." As usual, support for legalization in this year's survey is stronger among Democrats than among Republicans (65 percent vs. 35 percent) and inversely related to age. "Americans 65 and older are the only age group that still opposes legalizing marijuana," Gallup notes, with only 45 percent in favor, compared to 67 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds. Gallup cites personal experience with marijuana as a possible factor in rising support for legalization, noting that "a sizable percentage of Americans (38%) this year admitted to having tried the drug." That is slightly lower than the rate found in the federal government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which includes 12-to-17-year-olds as well as adults. Both numbers probably understate the true percentage of Americans who have tried pot, since people may be reluctant to admit breaking the law even in a confidential survey.

Gallup draws a parallel between growing support for marijuana legalization and growing support for gay marriage. I made a similar point in a column last year. 

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  1. Why does everyone hate the children? We have to keep pot and all drugs illegal, for the children. FOR THE CHILDREN! DO YOU HEAR ME??!!! GIVE ME ALL THE LAWS I WANT NO MATTER HOW DRACONIAN BECAUSE IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN! ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME!!????

    /The Statists.

    1. Ironic that this valuable medicine has actually been saving the lives of many children. “Save the children” should take on an entirely different meaning now for those who have children afflicted by disease that responds dramatically well to cannabis – without harmful side-effects.

      1. Obviously, you want to allow heroin pushers on our playgrounds.

  2. Gallup draws a parallel between growing support for marijuana legalization and growing support for gay marriage. I made a similar point in a column last year.

    Except that no one (that I know of) went to prison for gay marriage. Just sayin.

  3. I knew the prohibitions against pot and gay marriage were doomed when my 82 year old Conservative Republican mother said she couldn’t understand why anyone would be against either one. I love it when me and Mom agree.

  4. now we need some love for the coca plant.

    1. You heathen extremists never get enough, do you? Give you pot and next thing, you want to allow heroin pushers on our playgrounds!

    2. It already gets plenty of love from me.

    3. Ibogaine can be used to stop opiate withdrawals (although it does have some serious risks on its own), MDMA has a great deal of potential as a treatment for PTSD.

      I’d say both of those could be considered medical uses.

      1. Anabolics save the lives of AIDS patients. Meth makes fatties skinny.

        1. “Tired of being lonely on Friday nights?
          Tired of not having any energy?
          Tired of constantly having to let out your clothes?
          Well your solution is at hand!
          Tweak your way to a new you!”

  5. Define “legalize”.

    Some people think Eric Holder “legalize” and some true liberty “legalize” when they answer the poll.

    1. In Washington, “Legalize” meant resurrect a zombie government agency to set price and production controls on the entire industry, and tax it into oblivion.

  6. So if we take these polls at face value what can we learn? Does it mean that with roughly 60% of the public supporting legalizing a thing, that isn’t quite enough for a tidal wave of legalization? If not, what would it take to really start turning things around?

  7. I think the use of weed should be made mandatory.

  8. And yet it is legal in only two states.

    Maybe potheads are the only ones that still have landlines.

  9. I shall now make you all weep for the future.

    Idiocracy was a documentary.

    1. And if that weren’t enough, here’s from the top of the comments section.

      CarsonDial UTracie Egan Morrissey81L
      I would love to see a “Jersey Shore Babies” show starring this kid and Snooki’s offspring, set in the Brick Chuck E. Cheese. Today 1:43pm

    2. I don’t know any of the back story, but without context that looks to be one of the most insincere statements I have ever seen.

      Poor kid. Today 1:32pm

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