Support for marijuana legalization reaches record high: Gallup poll

According to the Gallup survey, Americans' support for legalizing pot has grown since they poll first asked the question in 1969, when just 12 percent supported the proposal.

The survey, which reached more than 1,000 United States adults from October 5 to 11, found that 64 percent of adults now back marijuana legalization.

Public opinion of cannabis has shifted rapidly over the past five years; since Coloradans voted to legalize recreational marijuana in November 2012, eight other states and Washington, D.C., have also voted to legalize cannabis for adult use. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker's Marijuana Justice Act, which would deschedule cannabis and legalize it federally, is likely the most bold. By 2001, however, about a third of Americans favored legalizing marijuana, and support has steadily increased since. Although more Democrats favored legalization - up to 72 percent from 67 percent - support fell among Independents to 67 percent from 70 percent.

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According to the poll, which was conducted October 5 to 11, 64 percent of all American adults and 51 percent of Republicans think "the use of marijuana should be made legal", up from 60 percent and 42 percent, respectively, last year. Seven states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized marijuana, while 29 states have passed broad laws concerning legalization. This is the highest approval rating marijuana legalization has ever reached in a Gallup poll. Most recently marijuana was legalized in 2016 in California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and ME via citizen referenda and voters in a number of other states approved legalization for medicinal purposes.

As Gallup notes in its analysis of the data, there are many similarities between the trend that we've seen in this polling and the polling on the issue of same-sex marriage that showed support for marriage equality increasing at a more rapid pace over a very short period of time.

The federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 substance with no known medical benefits, but the Trump administration has refrained so far from interfering in states with medical and recreational marijuana laws in place. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. "This is a clear mandate for the legislature to enact sensible marijuana laws to help the state create a workable budget".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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