Support of Marijuana Legalization
The question on the support survey is a simple one: “do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?” Back in October of 2015, 58 percent of Americans answered “yes,” indicating their approval for legalized marijuana.
Today, according to a new survey released by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 61 percent of Americans have answered “yes” to the question.
That 61 percent represents a new record high of support for marijuana legalization. Approval for legal cannabis has never been so high.
The survey conducted by AP-NORC doesn’t just show full marijuana legalization approval. It also shows what kind of support, and how far that approval is willing to go.
This is because the AP-NORC survey asked a follow-up question that found a considerable amount of nuance in Americans’ support marijuana legalization.
24 percent of legalization supporters said marijuana should be made available “only with a medical prescription.”
Another 43 percent said there should be “restrictions on purchase amounts.”
And fully one-third of legalization supporters said there should be “no restrictions” on purchase amounts.
Who’s giving support?
Additionally, there is a considerable age gap on the question. Eighty-two percent of 18-to-29-year-olds approve legalization, compared to only 44 percent of those aged 60+.
“This is yet another demonstration of just how ready Americans are to the end of marijuana prohibition,” said Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority, a marijuana reform group.
“The growing level of support for legalization that we see in poll after poll is exactly why we’re now in a situation — for the first time in history — where every major presidential candidate in both parties has pledged to let states set their marijuana laws without federal interference.”
Marijuana legalization is particularly popular among Democrats (70 percent support) and independents (65 percent). Nearly half (47 percent) of Republican voters support legalization as well.
The survey comes at a potential tipping point for drug reform. Next month, the United Nations will hold a special session in New York to re-evaluate the state of international drug laws.
Many researchers and public health experts have been encouraging the UN to take a less-punitive approach to drug policy.
Yesterday, a group of medical and public health experts urged governments to decriminalize all drug use and experiment with regulated drug markets.