You're Viewing the Archives
Return to IVN's Frontpage

Two in Three Americans Now Support Legalizing Marijuana

by Wes Messamore, published

Look at the person to your left. Now look at the person to your right. Odds are, at least one of them supports legalizing marijuana, and there's a good chance you probably do too.

According to the latest Gallup poll, 66% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. That's a new record high in an upward trend of support for marijuana legalization since Gallup began putting the question to survey takers a half century ago.

As you can see from the graph, ending marijuana prohibition was not a popular idea when Gallup first began asking the question in 1969, with only 12% of respondents agreeing the psychoactive plant and its products should be made legal.

It took twenty years for that figure to double, and nearly another twenty for it to double again, with a sudden uptick in support over the last few years as several states defy federal prohibition and legalize the cultivation, sale, possession, and consumption of cannabis for recreational and or medical purposes.

If you'll notice, throughout the years, Gallup has asked the question, "Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?" which marijuana industry insiders and advocates would say biases the survey results against a positive response for two reasons:

1) It asks if marijuana should be made legal rather than asking should the federal government stop imprisoning people for possessing marijuana, and 2) The question phrases the marijuana question in terms of use, rather than consumption.

"Users" as in "drug users" has a generally negative connotation, whereas "consumers" has a positive connotation. Even as scientific, objective, and unbiased as the pollsters may think they are, or even genuinely may attempt to be, it is impossible not to build tacit bias right into a survey.

And still the survey results for this question have trended upward over the decades, reaching a new high this week just as the federal government of Canada becomes the second government in history to legalize marijuana nationwide since prohibition swept over global drug policy in the 20th century.

In North Dakota and Michigan, two states bordering Canada, voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana for recreational consumers this November, and the ballot proposals enjoy enough support to win in the latest polls in both North Dakota and Michigan.

About the Author