STORIES

New Cannabis Polls All Point in the Same Direction

By David Jenison on March 31, 2018

The Pew Research Center released a new poll this month that shows 61-percent support for full cannabis legalization. This marks a new high for cannabis support as measured by Pew, which saw just 31 percent in the early 2000s. This marks the highest level of support ever measured by Pew. At present, every generation shows majority support for legalization—from 71 percent of Millennials to 56 percent of Boomers—except for the Silent Generation. The Silents, who came of age during the 1950s, is the only generation with minority support for cannabis legalization (35 percent) and same-sex marriage (40 percent). 

A right-leaning poll also showed major support for medical cannabis (MMJ). The lead campaign pollster for Donald Trump found that 77 percent of likely voters hold a favorable opinion of MMJ, including 68 percent of Republicans, with only 15 percent of the public holding an unfavorable view. Sticking with the right, a Fox News poll also reported 59 percent support for full cannabis legalization, up 13 points from just five years ago. Moreover, the Fox poll actually shows the lowest level of support among credible national polls released in the past year. For example, CBS News and Quinnipiac University saw 61 support (like Pew did), while legalization love hit 64 percent in Gallup. 

On the state level, a Siena College poll found that 56 percent of New York state residents support cannabis legalization, including 60 percent of NYC residents. A new poll in Iowa found that 78 percent support medical cannabis and 39 percent support full legalization, the latter up 11 points since 2014, while 61 percent of Michigan voters said they would vote for cannabis legalization in an EPIC-MRA poll. Down south, a Public Opinion Research Lab poll found that 62 percent of Florida supports legalization, and maybe it's no coincidence that opposition to legalization and support for concealed weapons on college campuses are both at 35 percent. Would-be presidential candidates should also take note that 56 percent of New Hampshire residents favor legalization, with only 25 percent opposed, per The Granite State Poll

Which state registered the highest support for legal cannabis? That honor goes to Illinois. A survey by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute found that 66 percent of the state wants to legalize cannabis. 

Over in Ireland, a study in The Irish Journal of Medical Science surveyed patients in a chronic pain clinic and found that 89 percent support legalizing medical cannabis for pain treatment. Sadly, a government health agency recently advised against doing just that.  

In terms of risk, a new Rasmussen poll found that 46 percent of the country believes alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis. Only 15 percent believe the reverse. More and more, it seems the public realizes that reefer madness is just that… madness. 

Finally, this poll suggests the trend will continue to move in this direction. A College Pulse survey of Ivy League students found that 76 percent want to see cannabis legalized. Moreover, nearly half the students had tried cannabis before, which suggests "tomorrow's leaders" spoke largely from personal experience. At this rate, Yale might have to replace Skull and Bones with the Heavy Grass society. 

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