Americans’ support for marijuana legalization has reached a new high, the latest Gallup poll shows.
Gallup poll results released Wednesday found that 64 percent of adult survey respondents said they thought the use of marijuana should be made legal. It’s the highest total in Gallup’s nearly 50 years of posing the question.
It’s also the first time that a majority of Republican respondents favored legalization.
The survey of 1,028 Americans over the age of 18 also found that 51 percent of respondents with Republican political affiliation said they supported legal marijuana. That’s up from 42 percent in 2016. Although more Democrats favored legalization — up to 72 percent from 67 percent — support fell among Independents to 67 percent from 70 percent.
“The trajectory of American’s views on marijuana is similar to that of their view on same-sex marriage over the past couple of decades,” Gallup officials wrote in the release of the marijuana poll results. “On both issues, about a quarter supported legalization in the late 1990s, and today 64 percent favor each. Over the past several years, Gallup has found that Americans have become more liberal on a variety of social issues.”
When Gallup first posed the marijuana legalization question in October 1969, only 12 percent of respondents were in favor. A whopping 84 percent sat opposed.
The levels of support slowly climbed in the decades that followed, settling in at 25 percent in the 1980s and 1990s and in the mid-30 percent range during the early 2000s.
Fourteen years ago, public opinion was an inverse image of where it’s at today: 64 percent of adults surveyed opposed marijuana legalization, 34 percent said it should be legal and 2 percent had no opinion.
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Public opinion has been in step with successful marijuana legalization efforts across the United States, Gallup officials said.
In late November 2012, following the states of Colorado and Washington voting to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, the Gallup marijuana poll showed support of legalization at 48 percent. That climbed to 58 percent by October 2013.
Last year — in advance of nine states voting on legalization measures, eight of which passed — Americans favored legalization at a level of 60 percent. A Quinnipiac poll released in August showed that 61 percent of those polled agreed that “the use of marijuana should be made legal in the United States.”
The Gallup poll released Wednesday was conducted Oct. 5 through 11. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
This article was first published at TheCannabist.co.
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