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A Record High 64% of Americans Say Cannabis Should be Legal

October 25, 2017

Cannabis legalization support continues to rise in the United States, as a new Gallup poll finds that 64% of adults believe that cannabis prohibition should end.

The poll, taken Oct. 5-11, and is the highest level of public support Gallup has found in nearly a half-century of measurement, dating back to 1969. Back in 1969, only 12% of adults supported legalization. That support started to rise in the 1990s, and climbed steadily throughout the early 2000’s.

Justin Strekal, political director for NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, said the new Gallup data shows that there’s no reason to keep cannabis federally illegal.

“At a time when the majority of states now are regulating marijuana use in some form, and when nearly two-thirds of voters endorse legalizing the plant’s use by adults, it makes no sense from a political, fiscal, or moral perspective to maintain the federal prohibition of marijuana,” Strekal said in a statement. “It is high time that members of Congress take action to comport federal law with majority public opinion and to end the needless criminalization of marijuana — a policy failure that encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts communities of color.”

Gallup’s data shows that the trajectory of Americans’ views on cannabis is similar to that of their views on same-sex marriage over the past couple of decades. The rates of support for both issues remained very similar throughout the 90s, and today, both garner 64% support in the US.

Another fascinating find by Gallup: The growing support of cannabis legalization among the GOP, with 51% of respondents who identify themselves as Republicans now expressing support for legalizing cannabis, up nine percentage points from 2016.

Graph from Gallup press release.

Poll Finds 71% Support in Connecticut

Another poll, released earlier today by Sacred Heart University, found that 71% of Connecticut residents support legalizing and taxing cannabis for adult use.

The poll, conducted on Oct. 3-12, surveyed 1,000 Connecticut residents from around the state. The pollsters found a strong increase from 2015, when support for legalizing was at 63%.

“An overwhelming majority of Connecticut residents support regulating and taxing marijuana,” said Sam Tracy, director of the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana. “Elected officials should listen to their constituents and legalize marijuana in Connecticut, rather than continue to ignore this source of new jobs, new tax revenue, and improved public health. This is a clear mandate for the legislature to enact sensible marijuana laws to help the state create a workable budget.”

Gage Peake's Bio Image
Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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