In less than a month from now, voters in five states will vote on marijuana legalization. As it stands right now, there are four states that have already voted to legalize recreational marijuana in America. Those states are of course Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. Washington D.C. has also legalized recreational marijuana. Will California, Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine join them? Only time will tell, but it’s worth noting that polling has been favorable to all five initiatives recently.
But what about at the national level? How far away is America’s federal government from ending federal marijuana prohibition? Congressman Earl Blumenauer personally told me that he thinks it will happen by 2020 and he asked me to ‘hold him to it’ which I plan on doing! The results of a new Pew Research Center poll have been released which found very, very strong support for marijuana legalization in America. Per the poll:
The share of Americans who favor legalizing the use of marijuana continues to increase. Today, 57% of U.S. adults say the use of marijuana should be made legal, while 37% say it should be illegal. A decade ago, opinion on legalizing marijuana was nearly the reverse – just 32% favored legalization, while 60% were opposed.
The shift in public opinion on the legalization of marijuana has occurred during a time when many U.S. states arerelaxing their restrictions on the drug or legalizing it altogether. In June, Ohio became the 25th state (plus Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico) to legalize marijuana in some form after Gov. John Kasich signed a medical marijuana program into law. This November, Americans in nine states will vote on measures to establish or expand legal marijuana use.
Young adults have disproportionately driven the shift toward public support of the drug, though support is rising among other generations as well. Millennials – those ages 18 to 35 in 2016 – are more than twice as likely to support legalization of marijuana as they were in 2006 (71% today, up from 34% in 2006), and are significantly more likely to support legalization than other generations.
Support for marijuana legalization has also increased among members of Generation X and Baby Boomers (ages 36-51 and 52-70 in 2016, respectively). More than half of Gen Xers (57%) support legalization, a considerable jump from just 21% in 1990. A majority of Boomers (56%) also support legalization, up from just 17% in 1990.
A 20 point lead in a Pew Research Center poll is significant. There have been other polls that have found higher support, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one with support for prohibition being so low. And if there is one out there, I doubt it’s as reputable as this one from the Pew Research Center. The results of this poll are sure to turn some heads and raise some eyebrows, especially with marijuana opponents who have to be seeing the writing on the wall, whether they want to admit it or not. Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority, had the following to say about the results of the poll:
“It’s more clear than ever which way the country is moving on marijuana. Legalization is polling much better than either presidential candidate, and politicians should do more to appeal to this growing constituency. No matter what happens in November, we know that a growing majority of Americans support ending cannabis prohibition, and the next president and Congress need to make it a priority to finally end outdated federal prohibition laws that stand in the way of full and effective implementation of state policies.”
Onward to Election Day! #FreeThePlant