Most Americans Want Legal Marijuana

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director April 4, 2013

    For the first time since they began polling the question four decades ago, Pew Research Polling has released new survey data that reveals 52% of Americans want marijuana to be legalized. Only 45% were opposed.

    This support is spread across demographics. The Baby Boomers (50%), Generation X (54%), and Millenials (65%) all have majority support for legalization. The only age demographic that remains opposed is the Silent Generation, those born before 1942, though support in this age group has also significantly increased. 32% of this age group now support legalization, up from 17% in 2002.

    According to this polling data, most Americans have also tried marijuana personally. 48% of respondents answered affirmatively when asked if they consume marijuana, up from 38% about a decade ago.

    Not only are Americans becoming more supportive of legalization, but there has been a dramatic change in how Americans view marijuana use. In 2006, Pew Research found that 50% of Americans believed smoking marijuana was “morally wrong” and only 35% did not think it was a moral issue. Today these numbers have completely flipped, 50% of Americans responded in this latest survey that using marijuana is not a moral issue and only 32% stated it was morally wrong.

    60% of Americans across all political orientations also believe the federal government should not enforce federal marijuana laws in states that legalize it. 57% of Republicans, 59% of Democrats, and 64% of Independents believe the federal government should leave states like Washington and Colorado alone.

    You can view the full results of this survey here.

    36 responses to “Most Americans Want Legal Marijuana”

    1. Chuck Skrout says:

      When will we stop supporting pharma companies in favor of natural? 99% of prescription drugs are more dangerous than pot (ok, all). Safe, interesting effects on some cancers, helps eye conditions better than surgery in some cases, and helps relieve pain w out addiction. Pharma companies are gettin too rich on addictive drugs that people cant quit. Is it by accident that oxycodone’s closest chemical relative is heroin? I mean why would a company make something that makes people sick unless they keep taking your product? Because it means u have customers for life. Tobacco and pharma kill people as a matter of course and they persecute pot growers making a legal living. What drug has a safer record than marijuana, truthfully?

    2. Max Lives says:

      I would like to know from some of those 32% who think marijuana use is morally wrong, just why they think so.

    3. dax says:

      57% of Republicans, 59% of Democrats, and 64% of Independents..

      If that is the case then why cant that same % change the law in congress? 57 and 59 seems to me a majority win? or is congress really that screwed up on how voting is done?

    4. Closet Smoker says:

      Come on Eric! Make the announcement from the DOJ, free the weed! Majority wants it that way man!

    5. Evening Bud says:

      I’m surprised the baby-boomers are so comparatively low on the support. I think some of it may have to do with the heavy propaganda that that generation was subjected to over the years. Even some people I knew who smoked in the ’70s seemed to change their stances over the years to non-acceptance. Maybe they’re learning now that it’s okay to support it again.

    6. Fireweed says:

      so when do I actually get to walk in to a store, order my favorite strain and go home and smoke it?

    7. Matt says:

      I would like to help the regulation of marijuana in the US. The largest arguement I have heard over the legalization stuck with me though. There is an inherent barrier of enforcability of criminal mis-doing related to marijuana use. I would rebute that there is only small amounts of such cases. This may be a mistake. I have just confirmed there is a small problem. A heaviver weight on the balance of legalization is the precedence of alcohol and tobacco. There are millions of people harmed by drinking, socially. The regulations aganist purchasing alcohol and conduct while under the influence are in concrete. The enforcement is not of to society’s par for bringing in another borderline disruptive drug to the front lines of law enforcement. Whether or not it is a destructive as alcohol, or even tobacco, is mute. I doubt anyone would take a petition to legalize marijuana seriously that does not have better law enforcement techniques and clear boundaries for use and impairment.

    8. TheOracle says:

      This is great news!

      This is great news that most federal politicians will continue to ignore as long as they can.

      I mean, what the hell do you have to do to get their attention? Send all of them a bunch of phony joints? Why put yourself in jeopardy and waste your weed by sending them the real deal? Unless you’re sure they or their staffers will vaporize or smoke it.

      Can I buy a package of ready-made fake joints to send, or pay to have them sent to my federal and maybe state legislators monthly, or is it illegal to send lookalike joints to them?

      Too bad we don’t have the money to walk into their offices and dump bags of cash on the floor like Larry Flynt did. You can think what you like, but he’s one of my heros, a real nonviolent freedom fighter!

    9. jimmy says:

      Now that legalization is reality in two states, the floodgates are opening.

      Just talking about cannabis seems to be self-defeating, by either allowing ignorant people to stigmatize one’s character as a “druggy.” People say that most elected officials are averse to even bringing up the subject, not just because it might lead to scrutiny, but also political suicide or ostracism. The invisible money powers have a shadow whose interests affect the openness of Congressional speech.

      This is what happens when a relatively harmless plant with medical benefits is propagandized and slandered with misinformation, and the penalties associated with getting caught carry medieval, draconic punishments that negatively affect the lives of wrongfully-charged. For what is a non-crime.

      It’s not a crime. Cannabis use is neither unethical or immoral as well. It is amoral, in the sense that it lacks any moral description. In fact, it might be moral to use cannabis if it helps one’s quality of life so they can function in society if they are endocannabinoid deficient.

      American philosopher James Rachels came up with the minimum conception of morality in this book the Elements of Moral Philosophy. To paraphrase:

      Morality is, at the very least, the effort to guide one’s conduct by reason. That is, doing what there are the best reasons for doing, while honestly considering the best interests of all those affected by what one does.

      Let’s see…an unreasonable and unsubstantiated prohibition that removes a hugely important and sustainable resource out of the “free” market and economies, backed by almost obscene punishments, those which do not fit the crime (it’s not a crime!), to the benefit of a select few and invisible money interests. A trillion dollars spent so far on Nixon’s CSA drug war could have been used for so many, better and more utilitarian causes or services. Yet few will say the money spent was effective in anyway, besides motivating, creating the organized crime.

      Cannabis users stand on the moral high ground, above legislators who support prohibition either for self-enrichment, or because they fear its overbearing and powerful proponents, above any justice system that inappropriately diverts its resources and rebuffs the spirit of the law.

    10. Voice of the Resistance says:

      I’ve never believed smoking marijuana was morally wrong. However I have a strong belief that trying to cram religion down a persons throat is. And I’ve always wanted to know how the ant-drug intended to make anyone “free” by persecuting people for smoking marijuana.