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For First Time, CBS Poll Has Majority for Marijuana Legalization

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #819)
Drug War Issues

For the first time since the CBS News Poll first asked the question back in 1979, a slim majority of Americans support marijuana legalization. In the latest CBS News Poll, released today, 51% said marijuana should be legal, with 44% opposed.

The poll findings are in line with a raft of other polls taken since the November 2012 elections that have shown support for legalization at or beyond the tipping point. Those polls have shown support ranging from 45% on the low end to 58% on the high end.

The poll also demonstrates an accelerating trend toward support of legalization. In 1979, only 27% favored legalization. That number climbed slowly over the decades, with 40% supporting legalization in October 2011. But by April 2013, opinion was evenly divided, with 45% favoring legalization and 45% opposed, and now there is a majority for it.

The poll found support for legalization among all age groups except those over 65. Among the middle-aged (45 to 64), support grew to 55%, where in the April 2013 poll that age group was evenly divided.

Even though support is increasing among both sexes, a gender gap remains. Some 57% of men think marijuana should be legal, while only 46% of women do.

And when measured by ideology or political affiliation, only Republicans and conservatives oppose legalization, with each group reporting 61% disapproval. Most Democrats (59%), independents (54%), liberals (72%), and moderates (54%), supported legalizing marijuana use.

Support for medical marijuana was overwhelming, with 86% saying doctors should be allowed to recommend small amounts of marijuana for patients suffering from serious illness. But there is also skepticism, with 56% saying they think it is used for other purposes. But even three out of four (77%) of the skeptics said doctors should be allowed to recommend it anyway.

The poll also asked whether marijuana legalization should be left to the states or the federal government. A healthy majority (62%) said it should be left to the states.

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.


HeinekenPete (not verified)

Well it sure took a while, but I'm happy to finally see the day when the majority of adults polled support legalization for recreational use.  While the tide has finally turned, it will take a lot of effort to reverse the effects of the 42 year "War On Drugs" crusade.  The most important step we can take to create this change is to inform others what the facts are about marijuana and the harm that Prohibition causes to society. I suggest write letters (here's an example) & engage others should the topic come up on television or in the newspapers. To begin, let's stop the ban on Industrial Hemp production & products.   Everybody (except the Government) knows that industrial hemp WILL NOT GET YOU HIGH. We do not need to "protect our children" from hemp. Legalized hemp will not "send kids the wrong message about drugs". What we need to protect our children from is deliberate misinformation from our elected officials & certain news media outlets.  Second, before complete, across the board legalization bills are passed, I would push to simply decriminalize cultivation for personal use.  Everyone should be allowed to grow their own (limited) supply, (like we do with our tomatoes & roses),  without the fear of running afoul of law enforcement.  

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 11:02am Permalink

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