Princeton, NJ: A record 50 percent of Americans now believe that marijuana ought to be legalized for adult use, according to a nationwide Gallup poll of 1,005 adults.
The percentage of Americans favoring legalization is up four percent from 2010. It is the highest percentage ever recorded by Gallup, which has tracked public opinion data regarding marijuana policy since 1969.
The 2011 survey results also mark the first time ever that Gallup has reported that more Americans support legalizing cannabis (50 percent) than oppose it (46 percent).
Gallup reported that support for legalizing cannabis was highest among self-described liberals (69 percent) and those between the ages of 18 to 29 (62 percent). Support was weakest among Republicans (35 percent), self-described conservatives (34 percent), and those over the age of 65 (31 percent).
Fifty-five percent of male respondents said they favored legalization versus only 46 percent of female respondents. Respondents' support for legalization was greatest in the west and Midwest regions of the country and weakest in the south. Since 2005, support for legalization has increased in every demographic polled by Gallup.
"When Gallup first asked about legalizing marijuana, in 1969, 12 percent of Americans favored it. ... Support remained in the mid-20s ... from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, but has crept up since, passing 30 percent in 2000 and 40 percent in 2009 before reaching the 50 percent level in this year's Oct. 6-9 annual Crime survey," the polling firm stated in a press release. "If this current trend on legalizing marijuana continues, pressure may build to bring the nation's laws into compliance with the people's wishes."
The Gallup poll results are based on telephone interviews conducted October 6-9, 2011. It has a 4 percent margin of error.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500, or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.