Support for the legalization of marijuana has reached a new high in the United States, according to a new Gallup poll released Monday.
The poll found that 68 percent of Americans support legalization of the drug. This is the highest approval rating the issue has received since Gallup began recording the issue five decades ago. By 2019, nationwide support for the legalization of marijuana was 66 percent.
Gallup surveyed more than 1,000 adult Americans nationwide for the survey, which has a 4 point margin of error. The survey was conducted between September 30 and October 15.
The growing support for the legalization of marijuana became evident in the 2020 election cycle, when five states adopted measures to legalize the drug in any capacity. Arizona, Montana and New Jersey legalized cannabis for recreational use; Mississippi legalized the drug for medical use; South Dakota was the first state ever to simultaneously approve medical and recreational marijuana measures.
Following the success of marijuana on the ballot of this election, the drug is now legal for adults in 15 states and in Washington, D.C. Medical marijuana is legal in 35 states.
On November 3, Oregon was the first state to decriminalize all drugs and expand access to addiction treatment and health services for drug users. Cannabis for medical and recreational use had already been legalized in the state.
Drug policy experts had previously told Washington Newsday that the progress made on the 2020 ticket was exemplary of the “upward trend” of the pro-cannabis movement and that the momentum would “undoubtedly” continue to grow.
Gallup noted that “the majority of most demographic subgroups of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, including by gender, age, education and household income. He noted, however, that “men, younger adults, college graduates and those in households with an income of $100,000 or more are more likely than their peers to support legalization.
While an overwhelming majority of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana, this is not the case for those who identify themselves as Republicans or Conservatives or those who attend weekly church services. For each population group, support for legalizing pot was less than 50 percent. Democrats and independents supported the legalization of marijuana with 83 percent and 72 percent respectively.
Overall, support for the legalization of marijuana today is twice as high as it was in 2000. Two decades ago, Gallup found that only 34 percent of adult Americans supported the legalization of the substance. Today, 68 percent of adult Americans support this move.
Other states are already aiming to legalize marijuana next year. Officials in New York and New Mexico have expressed confidence that state legislators will consider the 2021 issue.
“Given recent trends, more states are likely to legalize recreational marijuana in the future,” Gallup wrote. “Given the high level of public support for such a measure, there could even be a change in federal policy”.