Record-High Support for Legalizing Marijuana Use in U.S.

26 October, 2017, 01:02 | Author: Earnest Huff
  • The Globe and Mail

The latest figure, based on an October 5-11 Gallup poll, follows shifts in the USA legal landscape regarding marijuana since Gallup's 2016 measure.

For the first time in almost 50 years of Gallup polling on the question, a majority of American Republicans say they support marijuana legalization. A majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents support marijuana reform.

While only 12 percent of respondents answered affirmatively during the first year of polling, that statistics increased over the decades to 25 percent in 1970, 34 percent in 2001 and 60 percent in 2016 - a record shattered by the 64 percent of respondents who replied "yes" to the latest round of questioning, Gallup said Wednesday. For the first time ever, however, a majority of Republicans - 51 percent - told pollsters they approve legalization, Gallup said. Support increased precipitously in the next decade.

Voters in eight states have passed initiatives regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol, and marijuana is legal for adults in the nation's capital. This is the highest approval rating marijuana legalization has ever reached in a Gallup poll. Many other states allow marijuana use for medicinal purposes under laws with varying degrees of strictness. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

A year ago - in advance of nine states voting on legalization measures, eight of which passed - Americans favored legalization at a level of 60 percent.

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Among Democrats and Independents, legalization support is now 72% and 67%, respectively. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked lawmakers to undo federal protections for medical marijuana, repeatedly calling it a "dangerous drug".

As Gallup notes in its analysis of the data, there are many similarities between the trend that we've seen in this polling and the polling on the issue of same-sex marriage that showed support for marriage equality increasing at a more rapid pace over a very short period of time.

Activists from within the marijuana-legalization community celebrated the poll results.

The federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 substance with no known medical benefits, but the Trump administration has refrained so far from interfering in states with medical and recreational marijuana laws in place.



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