A Gallup poll published Wednesday shows record support for marijuana legalization in the US. According to Gallup, support is at 64 percent, up 4 points from last year and 14 points compared to 2011.
This follows a mostly consistent trend as more states consider their own policy on recreational and medical marijuana. Eight states, plus the District of Columbia, have laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
It is important to note that marijuana is still classified as an illegal Schedule I substance at the federal level, meaning it is still technically illegal within the jurisdiction of the United States. Still, US lawmakers may be forced to address the issue soon as support for marijuana continues to hit record highs and state-by-state legalization efforts increase pressure to act.
Earlier this year, Vermont became the first state in the US to legalize marijuana through the legislature. And according to the Marijuana Policy Project, advocates in Michigan are expected to qualify a ballot initiative for the 2018 election.
“As public support for ending marijuana prohibition continues to grow, it is crucial that states continue to be given the freedom to serve as laboratories of democracy," says Morgan Fox, director of communications for the MPP.
"We urge the Department of Justice in particular to continue its policy of not interfering in states with well-regulated adult-use and medical marijuana programs while lawmakers catch up to the will of the people.”
Gallup also found that this is not an issue that divides many Americans anymore. For the first time, a majority of Republican respondents said they support legalization, while independents and Democrats have gradually trended to the high 60s to lower 70s since 2004.
Few issues in American politics have such a quick shift in public opinion.