For the first time, Gallup Poll shows majority support for marijuana legalization nationwide

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator October 17, 2011

    NORML's Chart of Legalization Polls - data compiled by Russ Belville from various organizations asking a form of the question "Should marijuana be legalized in America?" (click graphic for full-sized version)

    A Gallup Poll released today showed that, for the first time in its 42-year history of asking the question, a majority of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized nationwide.

    Gallup reports that the 50% nationwide support for legalization also represents the first time support has outweighed opposition.  Only 46% of Americans believe marijuana should remain criminalized, with 4% undecided.

    Support for marijuana legalization remains greatest in the Western states (55%) and majorities support legalization in the Midwest (54%) and East (51%).  Only voters in the South still oppose marijuana legalization (44%).  Men still support legalization at a much greater rate than women (55% vs. 46%).

    Support is also greatest among younger Americans (62%), Democrats (57%), and liberals (69%).  However, support for legalization has increased even in demographics generally opposed to legalization.  Compared to Gallup’s poll last year, support increased 4% points in the South, 12% points in the Midwest, and 6% points among 50-64, but fell 1% among 65+.  Support rose 6% points among Republicans, and 4% points among conservatives. Marijuana legalization is becoming more popular with just about everyone.

    Gallup Polls Support and Opposition to Marijuana Legalization 1969-2011

    One third of jurisdictions in the United States – 16 states plus District of Columbia for 17 out of 51 – exempt medical use of cannabis from criminal prosecution.  Yet the federal government has initiated a new full-court press against these jurisdictions in an attempt to kill the burgeoning medical marijuana industry.  This despite Gallup’s most recent poll to ask about legalizing medical marijuana (in 2003) showing 75% support nationwide.

    One might think this escalation in the War on (Certain American Citizens Using Non-Pharmaceutical, Non-Alcoholic, Tobacco-Free) Drugs is designed to hamstring the state initiatives to legalize marijuana in 2012 by cutting the purse strings of the movement.  When three-quarters of Americans support legalizing medical cannabis use, half support outright legalization of all cannabis use, and one-third of the states are openly defying federal prohibition, federal retribution in service of the status quo is inevitable.

    Since 2005, support for marijuana legalization is up among all demographic groups polled.

    The question is: what will you do to push the issue over the tipping point?  Register to vote?  Contact your legislators?  Join a local NORML chapter?  Contribute to National NORML?  Get educated on the issues?  Join together with like-minded women?  Reach out to seniors?  Follow the latest marijuana news?  Learn from the experts?  These latest federal actions should show you that they aren’t going to legalize marijuana any time soon – it’s up to you to act now.

    Post updated to fix a mistyped “fell” to “rose”

    210 responses to “For the first time, Gallup Poll shows majority support for marijuana legalization nationwide”

    1. jayman says:

      I hope these numbers continue to improve as a reaction to the federal government’s heavy-handed tactics against medical marijuana states. Obama and his goons may be furthering the cause of legalization. I have to admit, I was a little ambivalent about the need for full legalization as long as states could vote medical use in (of course, I DID vote for prop. 19 in CA). Now I am sure that full legalization and regulation is the only answer, the only way to get the feds noses out the states’ business. I think what Obama’s “justice” department is doing is shameful. I don’t think he deserves the support of voters in medical marijuana states any longer, especially not in CA.

    2. TheOracle says:

      Keep running the economy into the ground until the politicians in D.C. slash the cannabis prohibition budgets. The supercommittee should slash cannabis prohibition money down to the negative numbers, meaning zero dollars allowed to be spent on it and the put in the congressional legislation wording that allows for regulation and taxation. Both fuckin major parties have to give yes-vote recommendations for cannabis legalization.

      Get the pressure on the U.N. assholes to attend this big cannabis conference in November, and get them to clear the way for legalization.

      Get the fuckin White House to call off the dogs by means of their response about cannabis legalization for the We the People petition. Also, get them to release Marc Emery! And the others!

      Increase the Occupy Wall Street protester numbers, and get them to add cannabis legalization to their agenda. I mean, talk about fraud, waste and abuse. The public is having a fraud put on in with all the lies and junk science and cherry-picked studies that show only the detrimental effects of cannabis because of the mission statement of the DEA and ONDCP. The Feds are wasting money like crazy on cannabis prohibition enforcement, and they are abusing the American people by waging war on them. The war on drugs, war on marijuana is still a war on the American people by their own government.

    3. […] Time Ever: Gallup Poll shows majority for legalization! (US) From NORML today: For the first time, Gallup Poll shows majority support for marijuana legalization nationwide | NORML… __________________ Truth, without a champion, is […]

    4. steven says:

      i say lets get it on 2012 election ballats nation wide

      [Paul Armentano responds: There is no ‘nationwide ballot’ aside from federal elections. Only approximately half of all US states allow for voter initiative/ballot issues.]

    5. Ben says:

      My first response was to question the statistic,
      ‘too good to be true’ and all that…

      But, being as we have:
      The CMA on board-

      Versus this bullshit:

      I thought I would share one of my favorites:

    6. Smoke n toke says:

      To make sure that WE THE PEOPLE make sure that we get them to spend all their stolen and fund money by throwing seeds all over the USA. THEN watch them blow all their money till all is spent trying to get it all cleaned up. We can crap on them with their own bs. Overwelm them any we can , just don’t stoop down to Nyc cops level and start to beat on non – violent protestors. We can remain non-violent and still win against them. Hit the money belt first!

    7. Mark says:

      …the War on (Certain American Citizens Using Non-Pharmaceutical, Non-Alcoholic, Tobacco-Free) Drugs…

      Don’t forget untaxed!

    8. Brandon says:

      This means the discussions are only going to get even more heated!

    9. Brandon says:

      By the way, there is more people support for legalizing marijuana than there is in favor of Obama.

    10. Ben says:

      Well, there kind of is going to be a nationwide ballot. It’ll be Ron Paul, running as an independent! Anti-DrugWar? He’ll get my vote.