According to the latest Gallup Poll, a widely recognized barometer of American opinion, 58 percent of the US now supports marijuana legalization. These results match those of the CBS News polling and the Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year. Gallup polled 1,015 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, via telephone on Oct 7-11. The margin of error for the poll is ± 4 percent.
Support for Cannabis Legalization Climbs Steadily
For the third year in a row a majority of respondents say they support the idea of legalization. In 1969 Gallup started asking if marijuana should be legal in the United States. The first results showed a mere 12 percent in support. The numbers began to rise steadily over the next decade and then balanced off and remained consistent around 25 percent until the end of the 90s. Then, the “double zeros” decade began to show a rapid rise taking place. By 2011, the numbers had risen to 50 percent, and in 2013 reached an all-time high of 58 percent. Indications are that the majority in favor should continue to climb and the majority will hold.
“I have never thought, for my part, that man’s freedom consists in his being able to do whatever he wills, but that he should not, by any human power, be forced to do what is against his will.” ― Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Gallup says that “the increase in support nationwide is also a function of attitude change within generations of Americans over the course of their adult lifespans.” Young Americans show the most support for making marijuana legal, but even older groups today are more likely to be in favor than in years past. The poll reports that 35 percent of seniors aged 65+ are in approval today as opposed to only 4 percent of the same age group in 1969.
More Cannabis Education And Research Is Needed
The more people learn about cannabis and the more they explore the benefits, in all likelihood the percentage favoring legalization should continue to grow. Senior citizens are basically alone in opposing legalization, mainly citing the dangers they perceive to exist due largely to Reefer Madness; whereas, more than 7 in 10 young adults are in favor. The latter is most likely attributed to more education and available data on the legitimate medical uses of cannabis, as well as the fact that the percentages of those who think marijuana use is morally wrong has declined.