Gallup poll registers most support ever for marijuana re-legalization

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator October 19, 2009

    2009 Gallup Poll shows young Western Liberal Democrats to be most in favor of legalization.  Please try to act surprised.

    PRINCETON, NJ — Gallup’s October Crime poll finds 44% of Americans in favor of making marijuana legal and 54% opposed. U.S. public support for legalizing marijuana was fixed in the 25% range from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, but acceptance jumped to 31% in 2000 and has continued to grow throughout this decade.

    The highest level of support for decriminalizing the use of marijuana today is seen with self-described liberals, among whom 78% are in favor. In contrast, 72% of conservatives are opposed. Moderates are about evenly divided on whether the use of marijuana should be legal, although they tilt against it (51% vs. 46%).

    Gallup also finds a generational rift on the issue, as 50% of those under 50 and 45% of those 50 to 64 say it should be legal, compared with 28% of seniors.

    Public mores on legalization of marijuana have been changing this decade, and are now at their most tolerant in at least 40 years. If public support were to continue growing at a rate of 1% to 2% per year, as it has since 2000, the majority of Americans could favor legalization of the drug in as little as four years.

    Americans are no more — and no less — in favor of legalizing marijuana when the issue is framed as a revenue-enhancement tool for state governments. Regardless of how the question is asked, 53% of Americans living in the West — encompassing California, where the issue could be on the ballot in 2010 — support legalization.

    It’s not a question of if cannabis will be re-legalized; it is a question of when, where, and how. Stats guru Nate Silver has opined that overall support for re-legalization should top 60% by 2022/2023 independent of any other factors but the continuing movement of Baby Boomers into retirement age. However, we here at NORML don’t really want to see another 11 million arrests between now and then, so we urge all of you to contact your elected officials to help us prove Mr. Silver to be too pessimistic.

    86 responses to “Gallup poll registers most support ever for marijuana re-legalization”

    1. Theserf says:

      “Re-Legalization”, Never thought of it like that. That should be the new catch phrase.

    2. Q says:

      Only 44% of Americans are in favor? What is wrong with the 54%. And what about the other 2%. Common people, just because it will be legalized doesn’t mean everyone has to partake of it. (Although, I would stongly suggest it, because it makes everything more fun.)

    3. Q says:

      I meant to say Come on people, not common people.

    4. ol tex says:

      “If public support were to continue growing at a rate of 1% to 2% per year, as it has since 2000, the majority of Americans could favor legalization of the drug in as little as four years.”

      I disagree, there is a thing called the “tipping point”. We have reached the point where talking about legalization is not frowned upon anymore. This accelerates the process. The more people who discuss it and know the facts, the more the word spreads. It is not linear, it is a geometric increase.

    5. Anonymous says:

      This god given herb for all we know can be legalized by next year!
      “Should top 60% in 2022/2023” Are you kidding me?
      If anything, MORE than 60% favor legalizing. They are out there but might be scared of speaking out due to being arrested!
      That guy doesn’t know what he is talking about. The way this country is being runned now, THERE WILL BE no america left by the year 2022.
      What i’m saying is almost everyone is sick of this failed war on drugs. Everyone i ever talked to feels this should be legal, every state i ever been too, seriously.

    6. CKDK29 says:

      wait a minute where is this poll so it can get my vote?

    7. CKDK29 says:

      nevermind i think its over

    8. AP says:

      Yah – 44% means a loooooot of you people out there are still in hiding! Come on out and play, the sun feels nice!

      Raise our numbers, and let’s get re-legalization on the minds of the majority. (I definitely like that phrasing much too!) 😀

    9. CKDK29 says:

      Good story though Normal you guys n gals r the shit

    10. CKDK29 says:

      Now that i think of it as they pretty much decriminalized it right there,cuz the GOV says theres no medicinal use for it,it helps me with alot of everyday stress or cant sleep at night jus toss n turn an i dont take p ms either no pill diet….lol,wait vitamin C thats it