Just last October, a Gallup Poll revealed that 58% of Americans were in favor of legalizing marijuana on some level. The initial question asked – “Do you think the use of marijuana should be legal or not?” – was posed again recently by Associated Press. Not surprisingly, the support for marijuana legalization has already grown some since last October.
The poll showed that 61% of Americans were in favor of legalizing marijuana. Now, a three percent increase may not seem like much, but in only five short months three percent is actually quite impressive. After all, reaching 60% is generally considered a landslide vote, so we can figure that if we were to vote on it nationally today, the plant would be legal.
“This is yet another demonstration of just how ready Americans are for the end of marijuana prohibition,” said Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority, a marijuana reform group. “The growing level of support for legalization that we see in poll after poll is exactly why we’re now in a situation — for the first time in history — where every major presidential candidate in both parties has pledged to let states set their own marijuana laws without federal interference.”
While the overall percentage in favor of legalizing marijuana is now over 60%, that doesn’t mean that everyone is up for the idea of legalization for recreational use just yet. The Associated Press poll continued with follow-up questions that allowed us to see further into the complex world of support for reform.
24% of those in favor of legalization believe that it should only be made available by prescription from a doctor. 43% believe that marijuana should be made available with restrictions on the amount purchased – and 33% believe it should be made legal with no restrictions at all.
It’s nice to see a breakdown on the true feelings towards legalization when it comes to that 60% of Americans. It’s good to see the support growing – and more and more people are clearly becoming used to the idea of marijuana being just as mainstream as alcohol. Even more surprising is the number of people who believe the plant should be legal with no restrictions.
Other poll questions also asked these individuals how they felt about legalizing other drugs (such as cocaine or heroin) and there was a nearly unanimous agreement that those drugs should not be legalized, with only 7% in favor. However, many believe that treatment is a better option than jail time – except for illegal dealers.
This poll is an excellent example of what a positive impact marijuana legalization has been for changing public opinion. Of course, some of the change in opinion is clearly a generation gap – but because of reform activists and legalization across the country these generations were exposed to a better view on the plant, regardless of what a D.A.R.E pamphlet might have told us in 5th grade.
It’s clear that support for marijuana legalization is not going to decline any time soon – all the presidential candidates claim they would leave states alone in matters of this regard and more and more states are voting to legalize medical and recreational use of marijuana every year. At this rate it’s really only a matter of time before we’re the next nation to legalize the plant on some level.