Washington, DC: Nearly seven-in-ten Americans support legalizing the possession and use of marijuana by adults, according to nationwide polling data compiled and reported this week by Gallup.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents endorse legalization — the highest percentage of support ever reported in a national Gallup poll. In 1969, when Gallup first began surveying the question, only twelve percent of Americans backed marijuana legalization. In 1996, when California voters became the first state in the nation to legalize cannabis for medical use, 25 percent of Americans said that marijuana should be legal for those ages 21 and older. Since 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana for adults, public support for legalization has risen nationally some 20 percentage points. Legalization has enjoyed majority support among Americans since 2013.
According to Gallup, adult-use legalization holds majority support among Americans in every age group, including those ages 65 and older (55 percent). By contrast, only 48 percent of Republicans endorsed legalization, a dip in support from past years. Eighty-three percent of Democrats and 72 percent of Independents say that “marijuana should be made legal.”
The poll results were released just days after voters in four states: Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota overwhelmingly decided in favor of statewide ballot measures legalizing the adult use and retail sale of the plant, yet the survey was conducted prior to the election.
“There is no buyer’s remorse on the part of the American people. In the era of state-level legalization, voters’ support for this issue has grown rapidly — an indication that these policy changes have been successful and are comporting with voters’ desires and expectations.” NORML’s Executive Director Erik Altieri said. “Today, voters of every age and in virtually every region of the country agree that marijuana should be legal. We have a mandate from the American people and we intend to make sure that elected officials abide by it.”
Additional information on marijuana-related surveys is available from NORML.