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Public’s Attitude Shifts Dramatically In Favor Of Marijuana Legalization

Washington, DC: Nearly six in ten Americans now believe that marijuana use ought to be legal and only about one in three favor continuing to criminalize the plant, according to nationwide survey data published by the Pew Research Center.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents say, “The use of marijuana should be made legal” – the highest percentage of Americans ever to answer the question affirmatively in a Pew poll. Only 37 percent of respondents disagree with legalization.

The percentages mark a dramatic shift in public opinion over the past decade. In 2006, only 32 percent of Pew survey respondents favored legalization, while 60 percent opposed the idea. Much of this change is a result of shifting opinions among Millennials (those ages 18 to 35). While only 34 percent of Millennials favored legalizing marijuana in 2006, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of younger Americans support this policy change today.

Democrats (66 percent), Independents (63 percent), and men (60 percent) were also among those most likely to endorse legalization. Support was lowest among those respondents over 71 years of age (33 percent) and Republicans (41 percent).

The survey possesses a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

National survey data compiled by Gallup, CBS, Morning Consult, and others show similar levels of support among voters for legalization.

Voters in five states – Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada – will be deciding on initiatives to legalize and regulate the adult use and retail sale of cannabis on election day.

Paul Armentano

Paul Armentano

Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director of NORML— the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. His writing on cannabis and cannabis policy has appeared in over 1,000 publications, scholarly and/or peer-reviewed journals, as well as in more than two dozen textbooks and anthologies. He is the co-author of the book, Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (Chelsea Green, 2013) and the author of the book, The Citizen’s Guide to State-By-State Marijuana Laws (Whitman Press, 2015).

 

This Post Has One Comment
  1. I definitely believe that marijuana should be legalized. I am glad that the attitude seems to be shifting. Thanks for sharing these statistics!

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