A new Gallup survey finds the highest level of public support for legalizing marijuana in nearly a half-century of measurement. For the first time, a majority of Republicans express support for legalization.
Americans continue to warm to legalizing marijuana, with 64 percent saying its use should be made legal, the Gallup survey reports. This is the highest level of public support Gallup has found for the proposal in nearly a half-century of measurement. The latest figure, based on an Oct. 5-11 poll, follows shifts in the legal landscape regarding marijuana since Gallup’s 2016 measure. While still illegal at the federal level, with eight states and the District of Columbia having fully legalized marijuana, more than one in five Americans live in a state where they can legally enjoy the drug.
Gallup first asked adults about their views on the topic in 1969, when 12 perecent supported legalization. Support had more than doubled by the end of the next decade but changed little throughout the 1980s and 1990s. By 2001, about a third of Americans favored legalizing marijuana, and support has steadily increased since. A majority of Americans have consistently supported legalizing marijuana since 2013. Democrats and independents have historically been much more likely than Republicans to say marijuana should be legalized. This year for the first time, a majority of Republicans express support for legalizing marijuana; the current 51 percent is up nine percentage points from last year. The Department of Justice under the Trump administration has been perceived as hostile to state-level legalization. Attorney General Jeff Sessions could find himself out of step with his own party if the current trends continue, Gallup says.