The latest Gallup poll reports that support for cannabis legalization has once again hit an all time high, with 64 percent of Americans in favor of legalizing cannabis for adult consumers. When Gallup first started polling on this subject back in 1969, only 12 percent of Americans believed cannabis should be legal.
“It makes sense that support for ending marijuana prohibition is increasing,” Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project said in a statement.
This is also the first time that a majority of voters registered as Republican are in favor of legalization – with 51 percent saying they think marijuana should be made legal. In comparison, 72 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of Independents say that they support a positive change in cannabis policies. Only 34 percent of voters across all political parties believe that prohibition laws should stay in place.
“Americans are tired of wasting resources arresting hundreds of thousands of individuals every year for using a substance that is safer than alcohol. In the five years since the first states made marijuana legal for adults, it has become increasingly clear that — unlike prohibition — regulation works. Adult-use marijuana laws create jobs, generate tax revenue, and protect consumers while taking the marijuana market out of the hands of criminals,” Fox continued.
In the past five years, the United States has seen some of the biggest changes to cannabis law since prohibition was established decades ago. Since Colorado and Washington both made the bold move to pass legalization for adult cannabis use through referendum at the ballot boxes, they have been followed by six other states and the District of Columbia.
Now cannabis consumption is legal for adults 21 and older in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Maine, Nevada, Massachusetts and D.C. There are legal and highly regulated markets in all but three states, with those three preparing to have legal sales by 2018.
“It is high time that members of Congress take action to comport federal law with majority public opinion and to end the needless criminalization of marijuana — a policy failure that encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts communities of color,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal.
Unfortunately, one of the concerns for legislators considering following suit is the possibility of federal interference – but as more and more U.S. voters are in favor of legalization, the more likely such a crackdown would be political suicide. Hopefully, one of many pieces of legislation introduced in Congress to protect states’ rights to govern cannabis law as they please will be passed, encouraging even more states to take this common-sense path to ending the War on Drugs and the prohibition of an herb safer than many legal vices.