Third Year In A Row, Majority Favors Legal Cannabis
Americans’ support for marijuana is slowly but surely growing. In 1969 only 12% of Americans polled by Gallup supported legalization. Gallup polls about marijuana legalization have averaged above the majority level, 56%, since 2013. In 2016 Gallup has shown that 60% of Americans support marijuana legalization.
The high level of support comes at an ideal time, a record number of states have marijuana on the ballot in November. Marijuana use is currently legal in four states and the District of Columbia. We will find out this November if California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada will join the ranks. If all legislation passes in favor of marijuana, the percentage of Americans living in states where Marijuana use is legal, could rise from the current 5% of the population to as much as 25%. So far, four states and the District of Columbia have made recreational use of marijuana legal. The positive financial and public health outcomes in those states have shown how successful legalization can be.
Younger Adults More Supportive of Marijuana
Gallup has consistently shown that the biggest indicators of whether a person will support marijuana legalization are age and party identification. Independents and Democrats that are young are more likely to favor legalization, while Republicans who are older are least likely to do so.
In 1969 only 20% of 18- to 34-year-olds supported marijuana legalization, today 71% do. In 1969 only 4 % of senior citizens supported marijuana, that has grown to almost 35%. In the last 15 year Gallop has seen more growth for support than between any of the earlier time periods. Americans born in 1935 or earlier, have shown the least amount of change in their position about marijuana over their life spans.
Gallup has measured the support for marijuana to be 58%, which is an all time high. Because youth have shown to be more supportive of marijuana, the level of support will continue to grow.
Support for legalizing marijuana has increased among most subgroups in the past decade, but more so among certain groups than others. For example, support is up 33 percentage points to 77% among adults aged 18 to 34, while it is up 16 points among adults aged 55 and older to 45%.