Support for marijuana legalization reaches record high: Gallup poll

The Globe and Mail

To put that in perspective, only 12% of Americans supported legalization that year. Although more Democrats favored legalization - up to 72 percent from 67 percent - support fell among Independents to 67 percent from 70 percent. The latest figure, based on an October 5-11 poll, follows shifts in the legal landscape regarding marijuana since Gallup's 2016 measure.

A year ago - in advance of nine states voting on legalization measures, eight of which passed - Americans favored legalization at a level of 60 percent. Attorney General Jeff Sessions remains one of Washington's most anti-weed figures, and earlier this year, then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer erroneously suggested that marijuana could worsen the opioid epidemic.

A majority of United States adults - including most Democrats and Republicans - now support marijuana legalization, according to a new survey by Gallup. Public support for marijuana legalization remained stagnant for decades until reaching 34 percent in 2001 and has steadily grown each successive year.

It's also the first time that a majority of Republican respondents favored legalization.

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The biggest news in this survey is not that a majority of Americans want weed to be made legal - that's been true since at least 2013 - but that Republicans are finally coming around.

"Americans are exhausted of wasting resources arresting hundreds of thousands of individuals every year for using a substance that is safer than alcohol", said Morgan Fox, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. With this poll showing nationwide support for legalization above sixty percent (60%) for the first time, the trend is even more clear and we appear to be on the course to a point where opposition to legalization is a distinct minority across the nation.

"The trajectory of Americans' views on marijuana is similar to that of their views on same-sex marriage over the past couple of decades", Gallup said in its analysis of the data. "That bodes well for efforts to pass cannabis laws in more states in 2018 - both on the ballot and through state legislatures". The process for either of these events to happen moves much slower than the court system does, and can only often be blocked by a determined minority of voters. At this point it's not a matter of if, but when.

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