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US Nearing 50% Supporting Marijuana Legalization, Poll Finds

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #656)

Though the fate of California's Prop 19 remains unknown at the time of this writing, majority support in the US for marijuana legalization appears to be just a few years away. An all-time high of 46% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday. The number opposed to legalization dropped to an all-time low of 50%. Support increased from 44% last year, continuing an upward trend in the past decade.

time is on our side
Support for legalization was at 12% in a Gallup poll in 1969 and climbed to 28% in 1978, then stayed flat at about 25% throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s. By 2001, support had climbed to 31%, by 2004 it was at 34%, by 2006 it was at 36%. Since then, support has grown by 10 points to 46%.

"If the trend of the past decade continues at a similar pace, majority support could be a reality within the next few years," Gallup noted in its discussion of the poll results.

Pot legalization scored majority support among liberals (79%), 18-to-29-year-olds (61%), Westerners (58%), Democrats (55%), independents (54%), men (51%) and moderates (51%). It did least well among Republicans (29%), conservatives (30%), and people over 65 (32%)

Support varied among regions, from the West's high of 58% to 47% in the East, 42% in the Midwest, and 41% in the South.

The poll also asked about support for medical marijuana and found that 70% of Americans supported it. But that figure is down from 75% in 2003 and 78% in 2005.

The poll was based on live cell phone and land line interviews conducted October 7-10 with a random sample of 1,025 adults. Each question was asked of a half-sample of approximately 500 respondents. The margin of sampling error was +/-5 percentage points.

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.


Anony__mous (not verified)

i cant really wrap my head around the idea that sampling 500 people is an accurate portrayal of the American voter. the only poll that counts happens Nov 2 this year get out and Vote!!! 

Thu, 10/28/2010 - 7:18pm Permalink
Stan the Man (not verified)

You should take a course in statistics then -- mathematically, polls that sample in this way (randomly), especially multiple times over time, are extremely accurate within what is known as a "confidence interval".  Legalization is pretty much inevitable at this point, and our politicians and businessmen know it.

Thu, 10/28/2010 - 7:36pm Permalink
Tommy C (not verified)

Hey pot should be legal man. You know like the people that don't dig it can you know like..go forget themselves man. Some people are like you know..weed can hurt your head or somethin. Like they say marjuana is bad for you. MAN these people are so lame man. I like use it ALL THE TIME and like it never hurt me at all man. My brain is perfect man. Do you dig? In fact I am using it right now man. It really helps me get into my space man. You know what I'm sayin man. Like if the whole country like smoked joints man, everything wo0ld be groovy! Peace would break out man. War would go away man. Every one would like love each other and stuff man. Can you dig it. Have to go now. Getting kind of dizzy and havn hard time like concentrating man. Just remember to vote yes on pot legal man. Groovy.

Thu, 10/28/2010 - 10:13pm Permalink
DamianN (not verified)

In reply to by Tommy C (not verified)

Wow Tommy, how long did it take for you to put together that hackneyed diatribe? Don't you get it, most of those who post and contribute this forum and others like it in webland are educated, polite and articulate. You've earned a troll cookie and a beer. Dig on that for a while.

Thu, 10/28/2010 - 10:28pm Permalink
Elizabeth76 (not verified)

In reply to by Tommy C (not verified)

It would be wonderful if ignorant people would not stick people who use marijuana OR who support the legalization of marijuana into a stereotype. If you would have taken time to educate yourself you would know that cannabis does many beneficial things, including helping new cell growth in the brain, helping cure cancer, slowing the progression of Multiple Sclerosis, as well as a treatment for MANY other medical conditions. Please EDUCATE YOURSELF

Tue, 11/02/2010 - 8:05pm Permalink
1984- Read it… (not verified)

In reply to by Tommy C (not verified)

this is obviously not anyone thats ever smoked pot, prohibitionists will do and say anything to get their way. The AMA supports marijuana and its effects. You sound as if you are on ecstasy or an actual drug, not a plant that god created. 


Dont Panic


Thu, 03/03/2011 - 7:25pm Permalink
1984- Read it… (not verified)

In reply to by Tommy C (not verified)

this is obviously not anyone thats ever smoked pot, prohibitionists will do and say anything to get their way. The AMA supports marijuana and its effects. You sound as if you are on ecstasy or an actual drug, not a plant that god created. 


Dont Panic


Thu, 03/03/2011 - 7:25pm Permalink
Tommy C (not verified)

TommHeyTommy  DamianN man. Like get off my case dude. Have a joint and relax man. I am like edecated man. Went to Berkely man. Ohhh...passin out again. Talk later dude;;;iii/ooooooooooo

Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:02pm Permalink
Vote yes on Pr… (not verified)

In reply to by Tommy C (not verified)

Hey Tommy C, you need to lay off the alcohol and zanny's and just stick to the weed. You would be much better off,  DUDE! Oh, and by the way, those cigarettes you could do without too.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 4:39am Permalink
laura weil (not verified)


MJ, this issue is urgently important, both from the economic standpoint and social.

A very dangerous element of society is currently fighting out turf wars south of our

border, and unfortunately, "no man is an island." In major American cities like Atlanta,

these battles are spreading into our streets. However,  I can't close my eyes and

imagine what would happen to society if suddenly, tomorrow, drugs became available at

Wal-Mart or one's pharmacy.  I am certain that such a change would create anarchy in

the prison system, as a result of all of the layoffs of guards. And judges. And cops.

But I do think that there would also be peace in the streets, at least until thugs could

regroup and find something else for which to kill one another.

And the economic cost of illegal drug trafficking  is staggering, both in prosecution and in the penal system.   It would be interesting to know what the annual dollar tax amount is and what the actual

value is lost to our county  tax coffers on the sale of confiscated illegal drugs.  Those documented dollar amounts alone would probably realize enough revenue to help propel the economy enormously and


There must exist a huge void in the American economy where so many million/billions of dollars are spent and are earned on the sale of illegal drugs.  It doesn't take an economist to see that the unrealized tax  monies  could be used on infrastructure and hunger. They are, instead, buying bling for some dealer somewhere up the food chain in some cartel; you've seen them in Atlanta.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 5:19pm Permalink
Barbazza (not verified)

its sad to say, but the "greatest generation", which lived through the Great Depression, then fought and won WWII, and then came home to create a stable, respectable society with moral integrity and progressive politics at its core, is the very same generation that believes MJ is the enemy.  they were brainwashed as young children by Reefer Madness and other anti-marijuana propaganda of the time and have never been able to accept MJ as anything less than a dangerous narcotic.  once their influence on our culture and civilization is gone, the polls will be overwhelmingly in favor of full on legalization and proper regulation.  the reason the numbers are jumping so much is that the members of the "greatest generation" are very old and, sadly to say (my last remaining grandparent is one of them), are dying at expected rates.  every generation since has an over 50% positive outlook and non-propagandized knowledge of MJ, and therefore as newer generations come of age and the "greatest generation" dies off, the numbers are quickly moving in the expected direction.

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 7:11pm Permalink
Howard 'Cowboy… (not verified)

Until reformers understand that the message to the unconverted should focus on protecting our children better by not wasting time on Willie and Snoop will take that much longer to end MJ prohibition.   MOreover, most tokers are cowards.   They will not talk to the prohibition crowd.

Tue, 11/02/2010 - 3:17pm Permalink
maxwood (not verified)

In reply to by Howard 'Cowboy… (not verified)

Worth making the point here that the prohibs have concentrated on painting anyone who uses herb or, especially, is knowledgeable about its use, as a walking would-be child-molester, as shown by the fact that to get Prop. 19 on the ballet at all they had to include the harsh jazz about penalties for anyone who smokes in front of a 20-year-old or helps an underage person have a toke or learn to do so.

Now consider that in the USA some 900,000 youngsters a year get hooked on niggotine $igarettes (a pack a day = 182 puffs a day by one estimate) and there are statistics suggesting that at least half of all present addicts got hooked before they were of legal age to use tobacco-- what does that say about mentorship in our society.  When will anyone dare to discuss the hypercontroversial thesis that some children might be protected from lifelong lifeshortening niggotine slavery by getting acquainted with the cannabinoid alternative early, through vaporizer or one-hitter, completely bypassing the hot burning overdose paperrollup format, joint", which destroys cannabinoids and gets a youngster used to the idea of $igarette smoking.  Under the guise of protecting children, the present system protects Big 2WackGo against deserved extermination.

Despite the above cited problem I still agree with passing 19 on incrementalist grounds and keep working on further steps.

As to "cowards", I'm a natural born coward too and I don't begrudge someone avoiding the career assassination that awaits anybody who speaks up nonanonymously.  Blacklisted from the highest paying jobs in society, denied student loans, etc., etc. Thank Goethe for these big city public library computers.

Tue, 11/02/2010 - 8:08pm Permalink
Brennan (not verified)

Alcohol makes you do way worse things, and there are a lot of dangers that come along with drinking, and it’s legal. Cigarettes are in the same boat. They cause lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, heart disease, and strokes. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,800 chemicals, such as nicotine, arsenic, ammonia, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. Would you rather have all that going into you, or just about ¼ of the tar minus all the harsh chemicals with pot? 

Tue, 04/05/2011 - 6:12pm Permalink

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