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Support For Marijuana Legalization In America Reaches 61%


marijuana legalization support gallup pollSupport for marijuana legalization has been growing for a long time. The highest support has ever reached is 58% in previous polls. However, it appears that number has risen even higher based off poll results that were released late last week. Per The Washington Post:

A new survey released today by the the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that a record-high percentage of Americans — 61 percent — say they support marijuana legalization.

The survey uses the same question wording (“Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?”) on marijuana as previous Gallup surveys, which had shown a previous high of 58 percent support for legalization last October.

However, AP-NORC asked a follow-up question that found a considerable amount of nuance in Americans’ support marijuana legalization. Twenty-four percent of legalization supporters said marijuana should be made available “only with a medical prescription.” Another 43 percent said there should be “restrictions on purchase amounts.” And one-third of legalization supporters said there should be “no restrictions” on purchase amounts.

This poll is a great example of how details matter. I will often read poll questions and look at the results, and I’m always left scratching my head. This is very common with campaigns. A poll will ask ‘do you support marijuana legalization?’ However, the poll doesn’t ask what that legalization would look like. Whereas people can agree that prohibition has failed, not every supports home cultivation, or unlimited purchase amounts, and a number of other provisions. These results are still very encouraging though. 61% is 61%, and while it gets a bit hairy when details are added, the fact that over 6 in 10 polled Americans supports recreational reform is outstanding.


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Johnny Green


  1. five year olds can’t read. So your comment is completely off base. For those of us that ca read we assume it for adults. Some people just cannot make good assumptions.

  2. If we leave it up to the Republicans, we’ll find ourselves living in 1955, except we’ll have no jobs.

  3. If you leave it up to the republicans, no telling but this is an election year and it is time to change the conservative crap for progressive thinking.

  4. for prohibitionist reality is hard to accept! Actually I think even the southern states are changing their minds on legalization. This is an election year and folks are looking for progressive thinkers not he same old lazy, do nothing conservative, republicans. Times are changes and so should you.

  5. saynotohypocrisy on

    Yes, polls really need to specify the age they are talking about, this forced people to make assumptions about what was actually meant. It seems such careless or biased wording not bothering to specify ‘legalize for adults’ is widespread. And they really need to specify legalize, regulate and tax too, because that is what is on offer everywhere where legalization is currently in play, so to only mention ‘legalize’ also understates support for what is actually going to be debated and voted on.

  6. Jason Harris on

    California has been more actively pro marijuana than any other state. Calif. was the first to make medical marijuana legal and got the ball rolling for other states to go for full legalization. Fighting the feds was a RISKY move on Colorado’s part. But, they won and now the rest are following along. I can EASILY see 61% supporting it. You are singling out individual states and then taking those averages. You can’t do it that way. Oregon has 3 million people. 56% of that is about 1.6 million. Florida has 20 million people. They failed, but 57% voted yes. That is about 11.5 million. So, in total, about 13 million people voted yes and 10 million voted no. Well over 50%. And that is only the Florida and Oregon totals. New York and California have WAY more people in favor of legalization than Nebraska or Kansas.
    edit: You also have to remember that the states vote on the bill introduced. I forget which one, but one state said their medical marijuana could ONLY be oil, no flowers, no growing. Just because they vote no to something so ridiculous does not mean they are anti-pot. It’s just what they were trying to do was stupid or not good enough.

  7. Jason Harris on

    Agreed. I’m pretty sure the ‘one third’ didn’t think about selling to 5 year old kids when they said ‘no restrictions’ when the other options are ‘medical’ and ‘restricted AMOUNTS’. Those options are what they call ‘leading questions’ and are not fair.

  8. saynotohypocrisy on

    If it were my poll, I would phrase it something like this: Do you support the legalization, regulation and reasonable taxation of non-medical use of cannabis for adults over the age of 21? That describes every initiative that has passed or has any chance of making the ballot. I don’t know if that would get 61% approval but I think it would be close if those details were specified.

  9. Those cant be national numbers. No way.

    If Oregon has 56%, Colorado has 55%, Washington has 55%, Alaska has 52% support and those are the most pro pot states, how could it be 61% nationwide? 61% nationally would be more believable if the 4 legal states won with 80-90% of the vote to counter all the anti pot states. Most southern states dont even support medical marijuana.

  10. The headline said, “Support for legalization reaches 61%” but didn’t say “recreational,” so it seems to me 6 of 10 Americans actually support re-classification or declassifying cannabis. How long will we have to wait before congress works up the nerve to actually do their job and follow the will of the people? When we have 70% support? 80%?

  11. Superstorm250 on

    Good point, I’m a little confused by how that would work as well. It looks like based on that poll question, support for recreational reform both with and without restrictions still beats medical only. Maybe this means that recreational reform still beats medical only?

  12. Wait. So 24% of the 61% that are pro-legalization are medical only… How does that make for 6 out of 10 Americans supporting recreational reform?

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