Washington, DC: Fifty-five percent of Americans favor making cannabis legal for adults, according to the findings of a CNN/ORC International survey released this week. The percentage is the highest ever reported by the survey, which has been tracking public opinion on the issue since 1973, and marks a 12-point jump in support since the last time pollsters posed the question in 2012.
Respondents’ support for legalizing marijuana was influenced by age, gender, political affiliation, and place of residence. A strong majority of self-described Democrats (62 percent) and Independents (59 percent) favored legalization, but not Republicans (36 percent). Male respondents (51 percent) favored legalization at greater percentages than did women (49 percent). While support rates for people in the northeast (60%), the west (58%) and the midwest (57%) were similar, support among those in the south was lower (48%).
In response to a separate question, only 35 percent of those polled responded that consuming cannabis was "morally wrong" — down from 70 percent in 1987, the last time pollsters posed the question. Nearly three-quarters of respondents also said that they believed that alcohol posed greater dangers to the consumer than did cannabis.
The CNN/ORC poll surveyed 1,010 Americans and possesses a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
The survey’s findings are similar to those of a fall 2013 Gallup poll that reported nationwide support for legalizing marijuana at 58 percent, the highest level of support ever recorded in a national scientific poll.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500.