Marijuana Legalization May Be Souring Attitudes Toward The Drug, Says Gallup Poll

Even though marijuana users around the country began to gleefully rejoice when marijuana legalization not only began to make headway for its medical properties but also for the freedom to consume it recreationally, new Gallup poll numbers show the war for marijuana acceptance is not nearly yet won.

While Americans now favor legalization in the majority, it is only by a small factor — 51 percent say that you should be able to buy and sell pot legally. That figure, however, is stunningly low in contrast to last year’s rocket to 58 percent following recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado.

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The change is statistically significant enough that it may attract the attention of pro-marijuana legalization groups. Clearly, support has taken and hit — though the data shows that party lines are the still best indicator of whether or not someone will support weed legalization, said Gallup.

“Gallup’s trend data also makes it clear that legalizing marijuana remains a much easier task in certain places than others. Chiefly, in contrast to high levels of support among liberals and solid support among moderates, less than a third of conservative Americans think marijuana should be legal. As a result, such measures are likely to be more viable in relatively liberal locales, including in Oregon and Washington, D.C., where they have already succeeded, than in conservative bastions like Wyoming, Utah, or Arkansas.”

This information is particularly interesting after the mid-term elections last Tuesday, where there were few victories on pro-marijuana ballots across the country. Gallup suggested this may be do to a higher prevalence of studies that decry the health risks of smoking marijuana as well as horror stories about children overdosing on the drug.

“Last year’s finding of 58 percent in favor was recorded as Colorado was preparing to become the first state to implement a law decriminalizing the use of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. Although the law passed in November 2012, it did not go into effect until January 2014. Americans may have warmed some to proponents’ arguments in 2013 in the ongoing discussion around the Colorado law. More recently, Colorado has been in the news over the sale of marijuana-infused edibles — everything from brownies to gummy bears — and the risk they pose to children, possibly sparking public concern.”

Though the trend over the past decade has been steadily tied to growth, the large drop is worrying to those who had hoped that nationwide marijuana legislation was on the near horizon.

[Image via Raquel Baranow, Flickr]