A new Gallup Poll shows that public support for legalizing marijuana is at a higher level than ever before:
PRINCETON, NJ — Gallup’s October Crime poll finds 44% of Americans in favor of making marijuana legal and 54% opposed. U.S. public support for legalizing marijuana was fixed in the 25% range from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, but acceptance jumped to 31% in 2000 and has continued to grow throughout this decade.
Public opinion is virtually the same on a question that relates to a public policy debate brewing in California — whether marijuana should be legalized and taxed as a way of raising revenue for state governments. Just over 4 in 10 Americans (42%) say they would favor this in their own state; 56% are opposed. Support is markedly higher among residents of the West — where an outright majority favor the proposal — than in the South and Midwest. The views of Eastern residents fall about in the middle.
Not surprisingly, support for legalization is influenced at least somewhat by age, with those under 50 favoring the idea by a slight majority, those 50-64 nearly evenly divided on the issue, and only senior citizens strongly opposed to the idea.
The bottom line:
Public mores on legalization of marijuana have been changing this decade, and are now at their most tolerant in at least 40 years. If public support were to continue growing at a rate of 1% to 2% per year, as it has since 2000, the majority of Americans could favor legalization of the drug in as little as four years.
Can’t come soon enough.