WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to a new Gallup poll 68 percent of Americans now favor recreational cannabis legalization, representing the highest percentage of support ever captured by the polling organization in its annual report. In 1969, the first time Gallup asked Americans about cannabis legalization, only 12 percent of respondents indicated their support. In 1996, the same year California passed Proposition 215, Gallup found just 25 percent of Americans were in favor of legalization.
Gallup data show support is rising in just about every age group. In fact, 55 percent of Americans age 65 and over now approve of cannabis legalization. Earlier this year, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study showing a dramatic rise in cannabis use by seniors. This could be due to several factors including an aging Baby Boomer generation previously exposed to cannabis, as well as stigmas about cannabis use fading, increasing legal access, and perceived medicinal benefits.
Although last week’s presidential election highlights a divided nation, Americans seem to be much more in sync when it comes to cannabis legalization.
“It should come as no surprise that support for making cannabis legal continues to climb as more states regulate the substance and voters are able to see the benefits of legal cannabis markets,” said Aaron Smith, co-founder and chief executive officer for the National Cannabis Industry Association. “When more than two-thirds of Americans support legalization and now more than one-third live in legal states, we are quickly approaching a tipping point for cannabis policy. Federal lawmakers need to listen to their constituents and support sensible comprehensive reforms now.”
Voters in Arizona, New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota, and Mississippi approved pro-cannabis measures on Election Day. Now, a total of fifteen states have approved recreational cannabis while thirty-six have legalized medicinal use. The District of Columbia has also approved both recreational and medicinal cannabis use.
“In national polls and at the ballot box, the American public has spoken loudly and clearly,” NORML’s Executive Director Erik Altieri said. “The overwhelming majority of Americans favor ending the failed policies of marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a policy of legalization, regulation, taxation, and public education.”