Gallup poll shows 68 percent of Americans support cannabis legalization

Gallup notes “the trajectory of the public’s support for legalization has coincided with an increasing number of states approving it”

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At the federal level, cannabis remains illegal in the United States. However, a new Gallup poll suggests that a majority of Americans would like this to change. Photo by dvulikaia/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

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Donald Trump and his deluded supporters still dispute the results of the November 3 U.S. federal election, but there was one clear winner last Tuesday.

I’m talking about cannabis, of course.

In Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota, voters legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. They join 11 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing recreational weed. Voters in South Dakota also legalized the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, as did those in Mississippi. They join 33 states and the D.C. in passing laws legalizing or decriminalizing medical pot.

At the federal level, though, cannabis remains illegal. However, a new Gallup poll suggests that a majority of Americans would like this to change. According to poll results released today (November 9), 68 percent of respondents answered yes to the question “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?”

The highest reading

Nearly seven in 10 Americans now support legalizing marijuana nationwide, according to a Gallup poll released on Monday.

This is the highest reading since the firm started polling voters on the issue, according to a Gallup press release. Last year, for example, the survey found 66 percent support for legalization.

Gallup first measured the public’s views of cannabis in 1969. According to that year’s poll, 12 percent of Americans backed legalization. “By 1977, support had more than doubled to 28%” according to Gallup. “It did not exceed 30% until 2000 but has risen steeply in the two decades since then, and is now twice what it was in 2001 and 2003.”

It’s worth noting that the latest data are from a poll conducted between September 30 and October 15. In other words, the results reflect public sentiment several weeks before the election.

Gallup found that support for legalization crossed most demographic categories. Those most likely to be in favour, however, include young males, college graduates, and those with household incomes of US$100,000 or more.

Fewer Republicans in favour

Broken down by political affiliation, Democrats and independents are most in favour of legalization, at 83 percent and 72 percent respectively. Gallup notes that these are “the highest readings in the trend for both groups”. Republicans’ current 48 percent, however, is down slightly from slim majorities in 2017, 2018 and 2019″.

In conclusion, Gallup notes that “the trajectory of the public’s support for the legalization of marijuana has coincided with an increasing number of states approving it. It is not entirely clear whether the shift in public opinion has caused the change in many state laws or vice versa.

“Given recent trends, more states are likely to legalize recreational marijuana in the future,” the pollster reports. “Considering the high level of public support for such a measure, a change in federal policy could even occur.”

Your move, President-Elect Joe Biden.

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