According to a recent poll, across the country, more Americans want legal cannabis now than ever before.
The national polling data was put together by Quinnipiac University. This is the highest level of support ever reported in a nationwide survey and marks an even bigger shift in cannabis acceptance. The poll was directed by Doug Schwartz, Ph. D., and was based on random samples of adults using random digit dialing with live interviewers. The study has been conducted this way since 1994 and is considered independent and non-partisan.
According to the numbers, about seven in ten Americans believed that cannabis should be legal in the U.S. at the time of polling. Sixty-nine percent of those polled shared their support, and when looking just at registered voters, 70 percent are in favor. This number is up 19 percent from 2012 when the poll was first taken.
“There is no buyer’s remorse on the part of the American people. In the era of state-level legalization, voters’ support for this issue has grown rapidly—an indication that these policy changes have been successful and are comporting with voters’ desires and expectations,” NORML’s Executive Director Erik Altieri said. “Today, voters of every age and in virtually every region of the country agree that marijuana should be legal. We have a mandate from the American people and we intend to make sure that elected officials abide by it.”
Across Party Lines, Americans Want Legal Cannabis
This poll is also a big deal because support for legalization is more and more becoming a non-partisan issue in the United States. Sixty-two percent of Republicans, 67 percent of Independents and 78 percent of Democrats back legalizing cannabis. While Democrats are still in the lead in terms of legalization support, the other two groups are quickly catching up.
However, this non-partisan split is not being reflected through elected officials, as Democrats are still by and large the only group to support issues. Republicans still often vote against cannabis legislation. The recent legalization efforts in New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and New Mexico were all thanks to Democrats and received almost no Republican support.
Still, despite that setback, the Quinnipiac data showed that cannabis is increasingly being supported by Americans of all ages, not just young people. While the percentage of support is the highest among young and middle-age people, at 78 percent for those between the ages of 18 and 49, there is still support from older groups. Those 50 to 64 support cannabis at a rate of 72 percent, and even folks 65 and older give 51 percent support to legalization.
This is not the first time this data is being offered up. Other polls have shown similar results, and the national push for federal legalization, as well as more and more states becoming legal, is also proof of the growing acceptance for cannabis in America. However, this poll is significant because it shows more support than any data before. Since the numbers seem to indicate that Americans want legal cannabis, elected officials would do well to take note and start to implement changes that reflect the will of the people.