Majority of Americans Now Want to Legalize MarijuanaBy: Sean Patterson - October 22, 2013
For the first time in history, a majority of Americans believe the use of marijuana should be legal in the U.S. This finding comes from Gallup, which revealed today the results of a new U.S. poll about the legalization of the drug.
According to the Gallup survey, 58% of Americans polled answered “yes” when asked whether they think marijuana use should be made legal. This is a fairly significant spike in acceptance from just one year ago, when 48% of Americans said that marijuana should be legal. It is also a huge increase from one decade ago, when just 34% of Americans polled by Gallup thought the drug should be legalized.
The shift in opinion has not come from either end of the political spectrum, but from the middle. While Republican and Democrat opinions on legalization rose only slightly (35% and 65% in favor, respectively), independents have rapidly shifted their stance on the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. Of the Independent-identified Americans polled by Gallup, 62% now believe marijuana should be made legal. This is up 12% from 2012, when just 50% of independents expressed that opinion.
This latest poll comes nearly one year after both Colorado and Washington citizens voted-in laws legalizing limited recreational marijuana use in their states. Similar ballot initiatives are expected in states throughout the U.S. The Obama administration’s relatively hands-off approach to medical marijuana has encouraged the industry in recent years, and Gallup
Gallup has been asking Americans whether marijuana should be legalized since 1969. That first year, Americans overwhelmingly rejected the proposition, with only 12% saying the drug should be made legal. Opinion rapidly shifted in favor of legalization in the years that followed, with 28% supporting legalization in 1977. This figure remained fairly steady throughout the 80s and mid-90s, until it began rising rapidly again in the late 90s.
Another Gallup poll this year showed that a full 38% of Americans admitted to having tried marijuana at least once. That figure has also begun rising since the mid-90s, when it stood at around 34% and had for a decade.