The majority of Americans support federal weed legalization, according to three new polls
Support for cannabis legalization at the federal level is strong, according to three new polls, all of which indicate weed reform has a majority support.
Last week Quinnipiac University reported that 69 percent of American voters want the federal cannabis ban to be a thing of the past. The university has been conducting annual cannabis legalization surveys since 2012. However, this year’s edition resulted in the greatest support for legalization to date. Nine years ago the university only saw 51 percent support for legalization, but that number rose to 61 percent by 2017 and is now pushing to nearly 70 percent.
This year’s survey, in which 1,237 adults were interviewed in early April, found that legalization is supported by a majority in every single population group. As usual, Democrats were most likely to be in favor of legal weed, with 78 percent support, but a sizable 62 percent of Republicans are also in favor of legalization. A little more than half of adults over 65 even stated that they no longer have a legal pot, compared with 72 percent of those aged 50 to 64 and 78 percent of those under 49 years of age.
A day later, a poll by the Pew Research Center found that a shocking 91 percent of respondents were willing to join some serious cannabis reform. Of that total, 60 percent said they wanted full federal legalization, 31 percent said they were only in favor of medical marijuana, and a tiny 8 percent said they still wanted all forms of cannabis to remain illegal. This was the largest of the three surveys with 5,109 respondents.
As with the Quinnipiac poll, Pew found that every single demographic group supported a majority for some kind of weed reform. Only 5 percent of Democrats felt weeds should remain illegal, compared with 12 percent of Republicans. Almost every age, political and racial population has shown support for full legalization of adult use, but there have been some notable problems. Only 47 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of Asians, and 32 percent of seniors ages 75+ supported recreational herbs, but these three groups still showed majority support for medicinal pots.
On April 20, CBS News dropped a third legalization poll, but despite the holidays, that poll found the least support. Of all those surveyed, only 55 percent said adult weeds should be legal in their home state, versus 42 percent who wanted the pot to remain banned. Unlike the other two polls, this poll was conducted in early March before New Mexico, New York, and Virginia legalized weeds, which could explain the lower percentage of support. This was also the smallest of the three surveys with only 1,004 respondents.
However, the CBS survey delved deeper into opinions on specific issues related to cannabis reform. About half of all respondents said legal weeds are good for their state’s local economy, and 59 percent said states should allow non-violent former offenders to clear their criminal records. And oddly enough, just over half said it was unacceptable for people to openly use pot in social settings, although most still advocated general legalization.
Pollsters have also looked at some popular myths about cannabis legalization. Only a quarter of respondents believe legal weeds increase violent crime, compared with 54 percent who said it has no effects. A third of respondents still believe the Gateway drug myth, but 45 percent said legal weeds wouldn’t increase the use of other drugs, and 17 percent said legalization would help reduce other drug use .
Several other recent polls have found that between 61 and 75 percent of Americans support legalization, and polls by Pew and Quinnipiac confirm these results. While the CBS poll showed less support, it still shows that the majority of Americans are ready to end the cannabis ban.