Latest Pew Poll: Legalization Of Marijuana Is Inevitable

Seventy-five percent of Americans believe that the personal consumption and retail sale of cannabis will eventually be legal for adults, according to national polling data released this week by the Pew Research Center. Pew pollsters have been surveying the public’s attitudes regarding marijuana legalization issue since 1973, when only 12 percent of Americans supported regulating the substance.

Fifty-four percent of respondents say that marijuana ought to be legal now, according to the poll. The total is the highest percentage of support ever reported by Pew and marks an increase of two percent since 2013. Forty-two percent of respondents said that they opposed legalizing marijuana for non-therapeutic purposes. Only 16 percent of Americans said that the plant should not be legalized for any reason.

Demographically, support for cannabis legalization was highest among those age 18 to 29 (70 percent), African Americans (60 percent), and Democrats (63 percent). Support was weakest among those age 65 and older (32 percent) and Republicans (39 percent).

Why National Marijuana Legalization Will Inevitably Happen, In One Chart

More and more, it seems like national marijuana legalization is happening, and happening fast. Marijuana is now legal in Colorado and Washington state, and state and local authorities around the country are rapidly following suit to decriminalize recreational pot or legalize its use for medical purposes. States like New Jersey are mulling legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana entirely.

But what’s behind this massive shift in drug policy opinion? Changing generational sensibilities. In a Pew Research Center poll released last week, Millennials were noted as overwhelmingly supportive of marijuana legalization at a stunning 69% rate, more than double their support as recently as 2005. And older generations have changed their minds as well; 53% of Gen X and 52% of Boomers now back changing federal laws. [Read more…]