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New National Poll Finds 52% Say Legalize Marijuana

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #641)
Politics & Advocacy

A national Angus-Reid poll released Wednesday has found majority support for legalizing marijuana, with 52% of respondents saying they wanted to free the weed. That figure includes 59% of independents and 57% of Democrats, but only 38% of Republicans.

Gallup poll data, summarized in April Pew Research Center report
The 52% figure is almost identical to a December Angus-Reid poll that found support at 53%. The difference is within the statistical margin of error. But the Angus-Reid polling finds higher support than most recent polls, which show support nationwide for legalization somewhere in the forties.

Support for legalizing any other drugs was dramatically lower, with only 10% supporting legalizing Ecstasy, and only single-digit support for legalizing heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. The high levels of opposition to drug legalization cut across party lines.

The poll found that while a large majority (64%) believe that "America has a serious drug abuse problem," an equally large majority (65%) believe the war on drugs is a failure. Only 8% said the drug war was working.

The poll also surveyed attitudes toward Mexico and things Mexican. Some 78% respondents had favorable views of Mexican food, and 59% held favorable views of the Mexican people. But only 34% had a favorable view of Mexican immigrants (without distinguishing between legal and illegal) and only 7% had a favorable view of the Mexican government. The poll found that people who had actually been to Mexico tended to have more favorable view of things Mexican.

Nearly half (49%) of respondents believe Mexico deserves most of the blame for being a major drug supplier to the US, while 34% thought the US bore more blame. A majority (59%) of Republicans blamed Mexico, while only 49% of independents and 45% of Democrats did. Regionally, majorities of people in the West (54%) and the South (52%) blamed Mexico, while only 46% in the Midwest and 38% in the Northeast blamed Mexico.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


David762 (not verified)

as a medical rather than a legal issue. Criminalizing minor drug use places it outside all the normal rules and regulations of society, and outside of society's control or safety guidelines. That much should have been apparent from the history of dismal failure that Prohibition 1.0 was regarding alcohol.

Cannabis is the one plant most useful to humanity, and the least dangerous. No one has ever been injured or died from using cannabis -- it's safer than aspirin in that regard. Cannabis can only be considered a "gateway drug" because as an illegal drug, it is available from the very same supply chain that harder, more dangerous drugs are. Multiple studies from government commissions that span three decades indicate that any increase in the number of cannabis users if it were made legal is offset by a corresponding decrease in other drug use, especially alcohol. No wonder there is a concerted and unified number of special interests that prevail in regard to the continuation of Prohibition 2.0 -- there's a gravy train that needs to be ridden.

Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:55am Permalink
TruthLover (not verified)

In reply to by David762 (not verified)

Yes, you are right.  Marijuana DOES decrease cravings for other drugs, most notably nicotine and alcohol.  Marijuana helped me to kick my cigarette habit, and has helped to decrease my drinking as well.  LEGALIZE IT!!!

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:17pm Permalink
Oklahoma (not verified)

I would suspect that the polling booth will show the government how stongly people feel about this. We're trying to find ways to fix our economic situation and the obamanation slams the door on this one.
When alcohol prohibition was overturned there were thousands of job immediately availble for manufacture, packaging, marketing, distribution.....Guess what's already in place? Big tobacco is standing by in the wings with product designs, names and packaging. They already have the distribution.....

Fri, 07/23/2010 - 12:00pm Permalink
TruthLover (not verified)

In reply to by Oklahoma (not verified)

If they (Marlboro, Camel, etc) are already waiting in the wings, what is the big deal?  Let the black market go back to Mexico, and let freedom reign in America once again!!

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:20pm Permalink

There are so many reasons to support California Proposition 19 that we sometime forget some of them. A YES vote on Prop 19 will have the following benefits:

  • Reduce violence and crime
  • Reduce racially biased arrests
  • Generate $1.2B to $1.4B in taxes
  • Create 60,000 to 110,000 jobs
  • Reduce police corruption
  • Increase respect for police and the law
  • Free police to focus on property and violent crimes
  • Reduce prison costs and prison overcrowding
  • Expand California economy by $16 to $23 billion
  • Reduce drug cartels’ revenue
  • Reduce environmental damage from illegal grows
  • Allow adults to choose a safer alternative to alcohol

To read the studies documenting these outcomes, and to learn more about Prop 19, please visit

Fri, 07/23/2010 - 12:10pm Permalink
maxwood (not verified)

To the 12 reasons given above for a YES vote please add:

* It will allow youngsters (however illegally) experimenting with "smoking" to use an alternative to addictive nigotine tobackgo; this one point is the single greatest opportunity to save human lives on the planet today.

* Eliminating cannabis prohibition will de facto eliminate the prohibition against smoking harm reduction equipment. Precisely the safer utensils banned until now because they were "associated with illegal cannabis"-- vaporizers, 25-mg. one-hitters etc.-- will then replace "easy-to-hide" but wasteful and unhealthy rolling-papers, protecting health of both cannabis users and tobackgo users. What a disgrace that until now the Big 2WackGo oligopoly has succeeded in protecting its cash cow hot burning overdose genocide $igarette format by using the device of marijuana prohibition to block better herb-use technologies which could have been saving millions of lives worldwide.

Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:35pm Permalink
Clyde Null Jr. (not verified)

First off I'd like to start off by saying this!. I'd much rather meet a marijuana smoker on the road than an alcohol consumer any day of the week. The alcohol consumer drives like nothing or nobody can hurt them, like a bat out of hell they go. Balls out without regard for others crossing or on the hiway, or their property. They go 90 through a school zone .etc...........a marijuana smoker is very cautious , on the verge of going too slow, which is way better than "flying low".
In retrospect, give me a pothead over a drunk any day!!!!

Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:42pm Permalink
the gray brain (not verified)

It is great to see that a majority support marijuana legalization. I'm so tired of the hypocrisy of alcohol being legal while marijuana is illegal. When I was a teenager it was so much easier to get marijuana than alcohol because dealers don't care how old you are. Getting marijuana into regulated and legal distribution will more effectively protect children from using drugs. Number one, it will be harder for the under-aged to get marijuana and number two they will be less likely be exposed to other "harder" drugs. While some liquor stores sell to the under-aged they have the incentive of not paying fines and not losing their licenses to keep them obeying the law. What incentive does a drug dealer have for not selling to minors? or not introducing customers to more dangerous drugs?

Sun, 07/25/2010 - 9:58pm Permalink
Wolf in Council (not verified)

The choice is really quite simple. Some people use drugs. Everyone who has decided to use drugs is already using or about to obtain. The "war on drugs" does nothing to curtail use. Any drug is available just about anywhere on any day. Knowing these few simple realities, do you prefer that drug money go to drug dealers and the cartels that supply them or to state governments for use in serving the people of the state?

Mon, 07/26/2010 - 6:22am Permalink
Seattle Slough (not verified)

Your headline says 52% support marijuana legalization.  That's great.  However, the Pew research graphic you have attached to the article shows 52% currently OPPOSING legalization.

Thus the graphic and the article contradict each other.

Tue, 07/27/2010 - 4:43pm Permalink
borden (not verified)

No contradiction. The new poll we reported on this time found 52% supporting. The graphic is a chart over time of a different outfit's poll, conducted consistently over the years. That other poll has not shown majority support yet, but the graph over time shows how opinion is evolving. The fact that some outlier polls are now showing over 50% -- something that is happening more and more frequently -- is another demonstration of that evolution of opinion.

I agree that the graphic in this context creates a little confusion. Another reader emailed us about that. But I still think it makes an important point. Perhaps I'll write a blog post explaining it all.

Wed, 07/28/2010 - 2:15am Permalink

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