New York, NY: A majority of US adults believe that the consumption of marijuana ought to be legal, according to the results of two nationwide polls released last week.
A poll conducted by NBC and the Wall Street Journal found that fifty-five percent of American adults nationwide support legalizing marijuana. Nearly a quarter of the respondents said that while they do not personally agree with legalization, they would not actively seek to repeal laws approved by voters or state legislatures.
The second poll, commissioned by CBS, found that fifty-one percent of respondents answered affirmatively to the question, "Should marijuana use be legal?" The percentage is the highest ever reported by the survey, which has been tracking public opinion on the issue since 1979 (when only 27 percent of adults endorsed legalization), and marks a six-point jump in support since the last time pollsters posed the question in April 2013.
Forty-four percent of respondents in this poll opposed legalizing cannabis.
Age, gender, and political affiliation influenced respondents’ opinions regarding legalization. According to the CBS survey data, a majority of all respondents under age 65 now support legalizing cannabis. Most men (57 percent), but not women (46 percent) back legalization. Most self-identified Democrats (59 percent) and Independents (54 percent), but not Republicans (35 percent) support making marijuana legal.
When asked about their views on the therapeutic use of cannabis, 86 percent of respondents told CBS pollsters that physicians ought to be allowed to authorize marijuana use to their patients — an increase of 24 percent since 1997, when pollsters first began asking the question.
Sixty-two percent of respondents also endorsed letting individual states rather than the federal government specify marijuana policies.
The NBC/WSJ poll surveyed 800 adults from January 22-25 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.46 percentage points. Over 1,018 adults nationwide participated in the CBS survey, which possesses a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500.