A recent poll from Gallup shows that 66 percent of Americans are still in favor of legalizing cannabis for adult use. The polling firm found that the support for legal cannabis is at the same level as last year. Gallup first started polling people about legal cannabis back in 1969. At that time, only 12 percent of the U.S. population was in favor of legalizing cannabis.
The poll found that the majority of all political parties are in favor of legalization. However, 76 percent of Democrats are in favor of legalization, compared to 51 percent of Republicans. In addition, 68 percent of self-described independents are in favor of removing cannabis prohibition nationwide.
The largest demographic of those in favor of legalization were young people under 30, with 82 percent of that crowd polled saying they approve of legalization. Sixty-three percent of those included in Generation X and 61 percent of baby boomers said they would support legalization. The lowest number of those in favor of legal cannabis were senior citizens and people born before 1945, with only 45 percent of senior citizens supporting cannabis legalization. Also, 74 percent of African-Americans support legal cannabis, with 66 percent of whites and 57 percent of Hispanics. Only 42 percent of individuals who attend religious services regularly favor legalization, while 77 percent of non-religious people in favor.
In 1977, the Gallup poll was at 25 percent in favor of legal cannabis. During the 1980’s and the “Just Say No” era, the poll dropped to below 20 percent, but then rose again in the mid 90’s. In 2000, 31 percent of those who were polled were in favor of legalization, and in 2006 the number of individuals backing nationwide legalization rose to 35 percent. In 2012, about half of those polled said they favored legal cannabis.
The fact that 66 percent of the people polled say they are in favor of legal cannabis is a good sign for the industry and those who want to see the end of prohibition. This number rose significantly even in the last five years. The attitude towards legalizing cannabis has likely been helped by various states removing penalties for cannabis, as well as medical and recreational becoming legal in parts of the country. It will be interesting to see what the level of support is in 2020. It could very well rise to 75 percent, as voters’ attitudes towards cannabis are evolving.