The first Gallup Poll that asked about support for marijuana legalization was conducted in 1969. The poll back then found just 12 percent support for marijuana legalization in America. That has since changed, dramatically. Gallup has asked the same question in their poll for the last 47 years, and at the macro level there has been a steady increase in support. Today Gallup released their most recent poll, which found a record setting 60% support for marijuana legalization. It’s the highest level of support in the entire 47 years that Gallup has been tracking support. Per Gallup:
With voters in several states deciding this fall whether to legalize the use of marijuana, public support for making it legal has reached 60% — its highest level in Gallup’s 47-year trend.
When Gallup first asked this question in 1969, 12% of Americans supported the legalization of marijuana use. In the late 1970s, support rose to 28% but began to retreat in the 1980s during the era of the “Just Say No” to drugs campaign. Support stayed in the 25% range through 1995, but increased to 31% in 2000 and has continued climbing since then.
In 2013, support for legalization reached a majority for the first time after Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Since then, a majority of Americans have continued to say they think the use of marijuana should be made legal.
This is yet further proof that marijuana reform is here to stay. More and more Americans are getting on the right side of history. There are four states (and D.C.) that have already legalized marijuana. I think it’s safe to assume that the successes in those states has helped increase the level of support in America. The sky did not fall when Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. voted to legalize marijuana. It’s not longer if it will work, it’s a matter of how to get other states on the right side of history.
There are five more states that are voting on marijuana legalization in less than three weeks. Those states of course are California, Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine. A victory in each of those states would more than double the amount of states that have legalized marijuana, and would dramatically increase the population size of Americans that would live in a legal state. As the Gallup Poll points out, the percentage of Americans living in legal states would jump from roughly 5% to roughly 25%.
Tom Angell, Chairman of the Marijuana Majority, had the following to say about the historic poll results:
“The topline number obviously bodes well for the marijuana measures on state ballots next month. But what gives me even more hope are the demographic breakdowns showing just how strongly young people support ending prohibition. It’s more clear than ever that legalization is the future. More politicians — presidential candidates included — would do themselves a big favor to take note of the clear trend and then vocally support legislation catering to the growing majority of Americans who support modernizing failed marijuana policies.”