Two Major Surveys Find Record Support for Legalizing Marijuana

According to Gallup, 60 percent of Americans oppose pot prohibition.



The latest Gallup survey finds stronger public support for legalizing marijuana than ever before: 60 percent, up from 58 percent last year and 51 percent in 2014. When Gallup first asked the question in 1969, 12 percent of Americans said "the use of marijuana should be made legal." Support rose to 25 percent in 1979 before leveling off and dipping a bit during the Reagan administration. It started rising again in the late 1990s.

The Gallup results come a week after the Pew Research Center reported record support for legalization in its survey, which found that 57 percent of Americans think pot should be legal, up from just 16 percent in the late 1980s. Both surveys found, as usual, that marijuana tolerance is inversely correlated with age. According to Gallup, more than three-quarters of 18-to-34-year-olds think marijuana should be legal, compared to 61 percent of 35-to-54-year-olds and 45 percent of respondents 55 or older. But support for legalization also has risen within each age group and within each generation.

Among millennials (defined as respondents who are now 18 to 35), support rose from 34 percent in 2006 to 71 percent this year, according to the Pew survey. Among members of Generation X (currently 36 to 51), 57 percent favor legalization, up from 21 percent in 1990. The increase among baby boomers (currently 52 to 70) is similar, from 17 percent in 1990 to 56 percent this year. Neither parenthood nor age-related conservatism seems to have increased enthusiasm for pot prohibition within these age cohorts, all of which have wide direct and indirect experience with cannabis. The only cohort in which a majority still favors prohibition is the Silent Generation (older than 70 in 2016), and even within that group the share supporting legalization more than doubled (from 15 percent to 33 percent) between 1969 and 2016.

According to Pew, prohibition also remains popular among conservative Republicans, only a third of whom think marijuana should be legal. Republicans in general are against legalization (55 percent), although most moderate Republicans (63 percent) support it. The party split is stark, with two-thirds of Democrats supporting legalization, including 78 percent of liberal Democrats.

"The topline number obviously bodes well for the marijuana measures on state ballots next month," says Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell, referring to the Gallup results. "But what gives me even more hope [is] the demographic breakdowns showing just how strongly young people support ending prohibition. It's more clear than ever that legalization is the future. More politicians—presidential candidates included—would do themselves a big favor to take note of the clear trend and then vocally support legislation catering to the growing majority of Americans who support modernizing failed marijuana policies."

NEXT: British Regulator Declares Cannabis Compound a Medicine

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  1. Which is why I’m voting a candidate who demonizes marijuana use.

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  2. And how many politicians currently in office or running for office will even speak of this?

    They don’t give a fuck what we think anymore. They’re either going to get elected or appointed to some cushy no real work job by their friends who get elected.

  3. The party split is stark, with two-thirds of Democrats supporting legalization, including 78 percent of liberal Democrats.

    Their presidential candidate is firmly against it. It doesn’t matter, anyway, as it’s not a top issue for voters. They have more important criteria for their choice, although at this point I have no idea what it is.

    1. The only criteria that matters in this election is who is or isn’t Donald Trump.

      1. Trump is Hitler, you Trumpet!

        1. Stop insulting Hitler! I mean, sure, he may have been responsible for the murder of a few million people, but he never grabbed anyone by the pussy.

    2. I’d like to see a poll like this:

      You have 1 of 3 choices as follows.

      1. Legalize pot.

      2. Get more free shit.

      3. Round up all Republicans and Libertarians and put them in death camps.

      I wonder how that poll would go with ‘liberal’ democrats.

    3. I think public support in general is relevant at least with regards to state level legalization efforts that seem to mostly be happening through ballot initiatives.

  4. If confronted with this info, any good politician will just have a good chuckle, ha ha pot is so funny, and then continue to condone the imprisonment of thousands of people every year for mere possession.

  5. A friend of mine on FB posted an article about the group of people most against pot legalization. I guessed “politicians”. The correct answer was “old people”.


      1. Those tomato plants looked like marijuana to me. Sorry about your dog and your front door.

        /the cops

    2. I would have guessed drunks.

      1. Nah, I’m drunk right now, and I totally want to legalize it. I don’t smoke it myself, but I don’t give two shits if you do. If you’re sitting at home toking up and not bothering me, I don’t care. I don’t want to kick your door down and haul you off to jail, and I’d really rather the state not do so in my name. I promise not to mess with your Purple Grandpa (or whatever the hell you smoke) as long as you don’t mess with my Old Rasputin.

  6. This is how democracy works: the majority forms a consensus about how it wants society to be structured.

    Then, you wait years and years for government to catch up. Because why should they give two shits?


  7. Also interesting that support has gone up even among religious Christians.

    I guess Jesus is just alright with weed.

    1. I’m sure there’s some wacko token ritual that can be made up in every religion to justify that.

  8. “When Gallup first asked the question in 1969, 12 percent of Americans said the use of marijuana should be made legal.”

    Well, that’s because 88% of Americans didn’t know what it was, besides what they learned from the ‘reefer madness’ propaganda. And the 12% were dirty hippies.

  9. If I don’t do something, I sure as don’t want anyone else doing it either.

    1. *sure as hell.

      Mothafuggin skwerlz are gaslighting me.

    2. And sadly, this is how the majority of Americans think.

  10. Looks like Utah’s governor is suddenly on board!

    1. Laws are for thee, not for me. Do as I say, not as I do.

      /Team Purple

    2. Would love to see Utah beat New York to the punch on this.

  11. I find it absolutely incomprehensible that some liberal Democrats (hell, anyone, but especially them) are opposed to legalization. They simply don’t process the “sure, maybe its not smart, maybe its not good for you, but does that mean we should be jailing people for it?” the way I do. They seem to regard jailing (other) people as just not that big deal, not inappopriate to do over what is essentially a difference of opinion. I’m talking about liberal Democrats that I know personally.

    Of course, they’ll pivot to the violent drug cartels, and again simply cannot process that if it is legalized, the cartels will lose massive market share, and the violent black market will shrink. Its bizarre.

  12. After the complete collapse of the US banking system with Herbert Hoover using asset forfeiture to enforce prohibition laws, states that hadn’t already repealed their liquor laws suddenly realized there were pressing economic reasons to do so within a year of the 1932 election. The short crashes attending prohibitionist excesses in 1987, 1992 and 1998 were feeble precursors to the asset-forfeiture Crash of 2007. That got the bandwagon moving again because freedom is the only alternative to economic collapse–just like it was in Russia and East Germany.

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