Gallup: Record Number Of Americans Now Say They Support Marijuana Legalization

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 29, 2010

    The latest national poll numbers from Gallup, which has been tracking public opinion on cannabis legalization since the late 1960s, shows that Americans’ support for ‘making marijuana legal’ is now at its highest reported level of support ever.

    New High of 46% of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana
    Liberals, 18- to 29-year-olds express the highest levels of support
    via Gallup.com

    While California’s marijuana ballot initiative is garnering a lot of attention this election cycle, Gallup finds that nationally, a new high of 46% of Americans are in favor of legalizing use of the drug, and a new low of 50% are opposed. The increase in support this year from 44% in 2009 is … a continuation of the upward trend seen since 2000.

    These results are from Gallup’s annual Crime poll, conducted Oct. 7-10. Approximately 8 in 10 Americans were opposed to legalizing marijuana when Gallup began asking about it in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Support for legalizing the drug jumped to 31% in 2000 after holding in the 25% range from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s.

    Political Leanings, Age Divide Americans’ Support for Legalizing Marijuana

    Across numerous subgroups, liberals’ support, at 72%, is by far the highest. There is widespread support for legalization among 18- to 29-year-olds (61%) as well.
    Majority support is also found among Democrats, independents, men, and political moderates.

    A large majority of those living in the West, which encompasses California, are in favor of making the drug legal. Support is significantly lower in the South and Midwest.

    Political conservatives and Republicans are the least supportive of legalizing marijuana. Seniors express a similarly low level of support.

    Women are 10 percentage points less likely than men to favor legalizing the drug.

    These demographic, political, and ideological differences in support are much the same as they were in 2009.

    Bottom Line

    Support for making the drug legal in general, however, is growing among Americans. The public is almost evenly split this year, with 46% in favor and 50% opposed. If the trend of the past decade continues at a similar pace, majority support could be a reality within the next few years.

    The latest Gallup numbers reinforce the question: ‘If a government’s legitimate use of state power is based on the consent of the governed, then at what point does marijuana prohibition — in particular the federal enforcement of prohibition — become illegitimate public policy?’ It’s time for our elected officials to answer.

    69 responses to “Gallup: Record Number Of Americans Now Say They Support Marijuana Legalization”

    1. Manford Mantis says:

      There’s alot of ways to confuse the voting public. There’s two ways to be fooled.
      1. To believe what [isn’t] true.
      2. To refuse to believe what [is] true.
      All I would be interested in is a poll from California. That’s where it’s happening. National opinion only confuses the issue and could dampen one’s intent. I’m sure the feds statement that they don’t care what California says, they’re going to actively pursue enforcement in California anyway might have turned some weak supporters off. Stand up and be counted. Vote YES!

    2. rick says:

      this is not surprising what is is that the govt. doesnt listen and wants to keep fighting the war on marajuana .what is it going to take for them to finally realize that it needs to be legalized in the usa instead of spending millions on a prohibition that a lot of americans dont support they keep wasting our tax dollars on a prohibition that will not win .most people who smoke it knows that is no more harmful than alcohol a persons personal choice of what to relax on should not be a punishment. the federal pot laws are unconstitutional our right should not be violated like they are. it is way past time to legalize marajuana

    3. CJ says:

      Soon it will be all over… any prohibitionist still alive will parish along with their ancestors and a new glorious marijuana industry will have begun!

    4. Sharon Ravert says:

      I find it hard to believe that 46% of Americans are on board and California won’t pass this. I hope it is going to pass with bigger numbers than we think, to make a statement. Come on Cali. the entire world is watching, waiting and hoping for you to stop the madness which is Prohibition. Thanks Norml for all that you do. It must be pretty busy up there!

    5. mtlasagna says:

      that’s a really nice graphic.

      the momentum is all ours.

      the sixties was the time to end the horrific drug war against us all.

      o man, the system is vile.

      is there any truth to the rumor that cheech and chong will be at the dc mall tomorrow?

      prop 19 yes

    6. Nic says:

      Texas Group Offers $10,000 To Disprove Pot Safer Than Alcohol


      “However, the campaign works to address increasing public safety concerns that our state laws prohibiting marijuana are sending a dangerous message to the public that alcohol is more acceptable than marijuana, despite the fact that every objective study on alcohol and marijuana has shown marijuana is a much safer substance than alcohol to both the user and to society,” the group said in a statement.”

      It is sad, that so many alcoholics never had a the chance to try a safer alternative, was reading in the news about another alcoholic jumping off a bridge..AA

      YES Proposition 19

    7. James Watson says:

      The great and hilarious part about this, is that the “only old people vote” principle definitely *does not* apply here.

      The old conservative vote *will* be overwhelmed by the young liberal and libertarian vote.

      Next month’s news will be *hilarious*.

    8. Buc says:

      So the South, conservatives, old people and Republicans are opposed the most.

      Color me surprised. These are also the folks that will advocate the use of force to solve problems, in this case mass incarceration, as a first resort.

      As a libertarian, I’m disgusted by the current GOP and how embarrassing the term ‘social conservative’ is now. Pretty much an insult when you call somebody that.

    9. Freedom says:

      I think this nuber is much higher. How many out there just wont come out and say they support legalization because they are afraid to?

    10. Freedom says:

      Er…I think this *number* is much higher.