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Poll Finds Majority Support Marijuana Legalization

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #696)
Drug War Issues

A majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana, according to a new poll from Angus Reid Public Opinion. The online survey of a representative sample of 1,003 American adults found that 55% supported legalizing marijuana, while 40% opposed it.

Majority support for legalization crossed all age lines, with young people (18-34) at 53%, middle aged people (35-54) at 57%, and seniors (55+) at 54%. Legalization also won majority support among Democrats (63%) and independents (61%), but not among Republicans (41%).

Support for marijuana legalization is reaching the tipping point. (image via Wikimedia)
Angus Reid polls in 2009 and last year also showed majority support for legalization, with 53% and 52%, respectively, but this year, support increased slightly. That's in line with, but also slightly more optimistic than other recent national polls.

The upward tick in support for freeing the weed has also been evidenced in other polls in the past year and a half, although the other polls have support for legalization hovering at just under 50%. In January, 2010, an ABC News/Washington Post poll had support at 46%; in April, 2010, a Pew poll had it at 41%. By last July, Rasmussen showed it at 43%. In November, a Gallup poll had support for legalization at 46%, its highest level ever and a 15 percentage point increase over just a decade ago. Some of these polls showed majority support for legalization in the West, which is likely to be put to the test in 2012.

While there was majority support for marijuana legalization, there was little support for legalizing other drugs. The poll asked about legalizing cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and ecstasy, and none of them reached even 10% support.

But if there was little support for broad drug legalization, there was also very little enthusiasm for the "war on drugs." Only 9% of respondents believed the war on drugs was a success, while 67% said it had failed.

These last numbers suggest that Americans may be open to an alternative to current drug policy approaches, but have yet to embrace legalization as the alternative.

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.


maxwood (not verified)

Did you notice the "correlation"-- (a) Republicans 20 points more OPPOSED to marijuana legalization; (b) Republican candidates over the past decades have been receiving TWICE as much money from the tobacco industry (which means $igarettes) as Democratic ones.  Surprise?

I hope to see some comment on the following surmise: What the "tobacco" (i.e. $igarette) industry fears most is that a miniaturization (dosage reduction) utensil, popularized first among cannabis users, will be adopted among millions of present-day $igarette-addicts, resulting in massive reduction in product purchased even among those who don't quit tobacco. 

Tue, 08/09/2011 - 8:20pm Permalink
sicntired (not verified)

If you think America is split on drug policy,take a look at Europe.The Dutch found out that being the Vegas of pot wasn't such a good idea because too many people from all over Europe went there to hang out,smoke pot and bang a hooker and go home with most of their wallet in tact.Portugal legalised everything and are doing great with drug use among young people down and costs greatly reduced while treatment is available on demand but is 100% voluntary.Many countries have rejected the legalisation of cannabis but embraced heroin maintenance.The UK is just another America while Italy would just as soon shoot all their addicts in the street.While the approaches vary widely,they are,for the most part,finished with outright prohibition and seem open to trying just about anything to make things better.At least they have learned that the outright ban on what a person does in their off hours is nobody's business but their own.

Tue, 08/09/2011 - 11:11pm Permalink

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