Recent polls indicate 58 percent of Americans favor marijuana legalization. In 1969, Gallup started asking US residents if marijuana should be legal. For the first time since the poll began, a majority of Americans answered “yes.”
Survey participants also provided their age and political affiliation. The results indicate that residents age 65 and older are still opposed to legalization, while a majority of those 64 and younger are in favor.
A majority of Republicans are against legalization, while Democrats and Independent voters favor legalization. In the last year, Independent voters accounted for the largest increase in favor.
Beginning in 2011, the overall numbers held steady at 50 percent. 2013 is the first year that indicated a clear majority in favor. Researchers also noted that 38 percent of those surveyed admitted trying marijuana at least once. Researchers suggest a correlation in the results.
As reported by Gallup.com, recent legislation “may have increased Americas’ tolerance” for marijuana use. As more states consider changing their laws, the number of Americans in favor of legalization may rise.
When the poll began, only 12 percent were in favor of legalizing marijuana. The numbers increased to 28 percent in the 70s, then plateaued in the 80s and 90s. In 2000, the numbers began to steadily rise.
As reported by Forbes.com, Gallup researchers noted that support for marijuana legalization has followed the same trends as support for gay marriage. Beginning in 2012, a majority of Americans said they favor gay marriage rights.
Researchers suggest the increased acceptance of gay marriage is also tied to legislation. Gay marriage is now legal in 14 US states.
Gallup research is based on telephone surveys. The researchers use a random sample of 1,028 US residents age 18 or older. The margin of error is ±4 percentage points. The survey was conducted between October 3-6, 2013.
Marijuana legalization remains a topic of controversy, specifically along political party lines. However, those in favor of legalization continue to make great strides as more states approve the use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational use.
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