For those who follow news about cannabis, titles like the one above are no longer surprising. Support for marijuana legalization grows from year to year, no matter what poll you’re looking at.
This holds true for new numbers out of the General Social Survey, a massive nationwide survey conducted every 2 years. When asked if they think marijuana should be made legal, 57% of respondents in the 2016 survey said yes, which is up from the 52% who supported it in the 2014 survey.
When you break the numbers down, you find stalwart support for legalization in the usual places: among younger people and among Democrats and Independents. Legalization enjoys majority support among all age groups under the age of 65 and two-thirds support among those aged 18 to 34. Support from those who identify as Democrats or Independents politically clocks in at over 60% while Republican support hovers around 40%.
In this same survey in the late 1980s and early 1990s, support for legalization languished below 20% overall. Since then the dual events of advancing medical marijuana laws and the rise of the Internet have shown tens of millions of people that much of what they were told about cannabis growing up is simply not true.
In terms of gender, while men continue to support legalization more than women, support among women went above 50% for the first time in the survey’s history. In other words, as many have pointed out before, legalization is an inevitability in demographic terms.
This in no way means that we shouldn’t do everything in our power to fight for legalization. After all, those efforts have contributed mightily to the improving poll numbers. While the Internet is a great tool, it is only a tool. It takes activists and support to use it to its full potential to spread the truth about cannabis. In the end, nothing can be taken for granted.
When victory is in sight is the time to fight harder than ever. We have demographics on our side, so the road may be easier as time goes on, but there are still plenty of roadblocks for activists and supporters of legalization to surmount.
Having said that, sometimes it’s good to stop and take stock of the advances that have been made. A lot of people have sacrificed and suffered to bring about an end to a prohibition that should have never existed in the first place. Their sacrifices will not be in vain.