National Support for Legalization Hits 64 Percent!

By David Jenison

National Support for Legalization Hits 64 Percent!

A new Gallup poll released this week shows support for cannabis legalization at another all-time high: 64 percent nationwide. This marks the highest level of support ever seen by a major national poll. 

When Gallup first asked about legalization in 1969, only 12 percent of Americans supported it, and this percentage stayed in the teens and mid-20s through the 1990s. Support hit 31 percent in 2001 and started going up more quickly from there. In 2010, support for medical cannabis reached 70 percent, and the following year, support for full legalization hit 50 percent, marking the first time a majority of Americans favored legalization over prohibition. 

That figure jumped to 58 percent in 2013 and 2015 (support temporarily dipped seven points in 2014) before reaching 60 percent last year and 64 percent in the latest poll. 

Moreover, the pickup apparently came from people who previously supported cannabis prohibition. Compared to last year, the percentage of people who wanted to maintain prohibition fell by five points, while those with "no opinion" climbed from one percent to two. This suggests that legalization support picked up four points from former prohibitionists, while another point shifted over to the no opinion column. Again, this shift is from the last year alone. 

The new Gallup poll also saw another historic change: A majority of Republicans now support full legalization. 

Republican support is now at 51 percent, up from 42 percent last year, 28 percent in 2009 and we assume up from negative 1000 percent during the Reagan years. It appears the values voters heard about the great investment opportunities!

Per a Gallup press release, "As efforts to legalize marijuana at the state level continue to yield successes, public opinion, too, has shifted toward greater support. The Department of Justice under the current Republican administration has been perceived as hostile to state-level legalization. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions could find himself out of step with his own party if the current trends continue. Rank-and-file Republicans' views on the issue have evolved just as Democrats' and independents' have, though Republicans remain least likely to support legalizing pot."

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