Marijuana Legalization Support Grows in 2018, Poll Finds

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Support for marijuana legalization increased again, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center.

In the poll of about 1,750 people administered in late September 2018, 62 percent of Americans said they agreed that cannabis should be legal. That’s a 1 percentage point point bump since the last time the center polled on marijuana in October 2017.

And, opposition to marijuana legalization continued to decline at an even greater rate than support increased. Only 34 percent said that marijuana should remain illegal, compared with 37 percent who said the same in the 2017 poll.

“One of the greatest benchmarks of the success of legalization is the simple fact that public support for this policy change has only grown in the years since states began enacting it,” Deputy Director Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), wrote Marijuana Moment in an email. “The public has spoken and it is time for leaders in both parties to come together and amend federal law in a manner that comports with marijuana’s rapidly changing cultural and legal status.”

Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, agreed.

“The fact that support continues to grow as states have been ending marijuana prohibition over the past few years suggests Americans are comfortable with the changes that are taking place,” Tvert said. “They see cannabis being sold legally in regulated businesses and they recognize it is a much more preferable system. The idea of arresting and punishing adults for consuming marijuana is becoming increasingly unpopular, and elected officials are taking notice.”

Broken down by demographics, a majority of respondents in virtually every category voiced support for legalization. The exceptions were Republicans, Hispanic individuals and white evangelical Protestants.

Data from Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (Oct. 8, 2018)

That said, 59 percent of independent respondents who said they “lean Republican” favor legal cannabis, and a separate nationally representative survey from Gallup last year showed that a slim majority of Republicans, 51 percent, backed legal marijuana.

“Republicans are divided, with 45 percent in favor of legalizing marijuana and 51 percent opposed,” Pew wrote of the new results. “Still, the share of Republicans saying marijuana should be legal has increased from 39 percent in 2015.”

Diving into the results as broken down by generation signals that legalization is a trend that will only accelerate in the future. Seventy-four percent of millennials back ending prohibition, as do 63 percent of those in Generation X. Only the Silent Generation opposes legalization overall, but Pew reports that its members “have become more supportive in the past year.”

Data from the Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (Oct. 8, 2018)

Growing support for legalization has closely followed legislative developments at the state and local level, the survey authors observed. “[In November 2018], voters across seven statesColorado, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin — will vote on a variety of statewide and local marijuana reform measures,” Hannah Hartig and Abigail Geiger of Pew Research Center wrote.

What direction voters in those jurisdictions will take in November 2018 has yet to be seen, but this and other polls seems to reveal a political landscape where reform efforts have the advantage over sustained prohibition.


This article has been republished from Marijuana Moment under a content syndication agreement. Read the original article here.

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5 Comments

  1. ancient james on

    How does it benefit a people to have 20% of the adult population kept under criminal status for smoking an herb which has big health benefits and no harmful side effects? A united America is by far the wiser choice. A healthy citizenry makes good sense to me. America doesn’t need rulers who usurp power, rather America shall thrive as a Republic of sovereign citizens who champion peace, freedom, and prosperity for all.

    A super majority of voters agree with legalization of Cannabis. Who will stand in the way of the truth just to bolster the unjust and cruel tyranny of the prohibitionist minority?

  2. Cannabis legalization will have to be done in a state by state process. Feds won’t do anything until, at least, 25 states have legalized.

  3. Cynthia J Luria on

    Only country wide legalization will make it truly legal. I can’t fly with my legal medical marijuana to another state, even though it has been prescribed for me. So it is either convince a Dr. that what I take for sleeplessness should be Ambien, the only other thing that works and Drs. hate to prescribe it. I recently traveled and went two weeks without sleep. That was miserable and for me it was legal to have the sleep Marijuana. I don’t want my first cruise to be ruined because of this.

  4. Ohio has been legalized since 2016 and still has no growers or dispensaries. They keep stalling everything about it. Except, now they have doctors that will give you a “Marijuana Relief ” card. Michigan won’t honor the card. $250 for a card that states you may or may not be prosecuted ,if caught with it in your possession. It’s ridiculous!!! Michigan will honor the letter stating you qualify for medical marijuana in Ohio. I live 6 months in Ohio and 6 months in Arizona. Can I get a card in Arizona?

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