As 8 states and Washington D.C. have legalized the possession and sale of cannabis for recreational purposes, and over half the nation has legalized the plant for it’s medicinal values, it seems that voters are increasingly in favor of legalization. Previously, we’ve brought you news of the Gallup Poll, which back in March of this year, found that 61 percent of U.S. voters favored legalization over continuing prohibition – and that over 90 percent were in favor of legalization for medicinal use.
Now another poll, conducted by Harvard-Harris Poll, found that 49 percent of voters were in favor of legalizing cannabis for anyone’s use, while 86 percent were in favor of legalizing for medicinal use. While these figures are a little lower than the Gallup Poll, they still show that a majority – or close to it – are in favor of legalizing cannabis in one form or another. This growing acceptance is something that cannabis activists and advocates have been working towards for decades, finally unfolding.
“Voters point to drugs as the major source of crime and support tough sentences for drug dealers but view marijuana in a wholly different light,” Harvard–Harris co-director Mark Penn said. “Most think legalization of marijuana would probably be helpful in reducing crime and almost half support legalization.”
The same poll by Harvard-Harris also found that 69 percent of those surveyed would not care if cannabis was legalized in their state, and that 57 percent of respondents believed that legalizing cannabis would make society better over all. Finally, 72 percent said that even if it were to remain illegal, those possessing small amounts should not receive jail time for it. Overall, it shows that Americans are tired of the prohibition and criminalization of the plant, and would prefer a more sensible policy when it comes to marijuana.
The Harvard-Harris poll was taken with a total of 2,051 registered voters and was conducted from July 19-24, and was broken down into 37 percent democrats, 31 percent republicans, 27 independents, and 4 percent “other”.
While this poll might not show the same drastic change in favoring legalization that the Gallup Poll does, it is still another piece of proof that most voters are ready for this change. Just like the poll back in June where voters said they believe that the federal government should not interfere with states that have chosen – either by voter initiative or legislation – to legalize cannabis in one form or another.