U.S.: 60 Percent Of Americans Say Pot Should Be Legal
By Derrick Stanleyout
With recreational marijuana use up for legalization on the ballot this election in several states, a new Gallup poll shows that support for legal pot is at its highest in nearly 50 years.
The poll found that 60 percent of Americans now believe that marijuana use should be legal for adults. Gallup has been asking the question for 47 years, and that is the highest level of support seen in that time.
Gallup first surveyed Americans in 1969 to see whether they thought marijuana should be legal; only 12 percent said yes. Support during the 1980s and 1990s was steady at about 25 percent. But support for pot legalization has been on the rise since 2000.
Five states are voting on marijuana legalization this November 8: Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Recreational marijuana use is currently legal in four states and the District of Columbia.
Support for legalizing marijuana has increased more among younger people than those in older age groups, Gallup said. From 2005 to 2016, support for legalizing marijuana increased 33 percentage points among adults ages 18 to 34, compared to 26 percentage points among those ages 35 to 54, and 16 percentage points among those ages 55 and older. Currently, 77 percent of adults ages 18 to 34 support legalizing marijuana, compared with 45 percent of adults ages 55 and older.
If California votes to legalize recreational marijuana in the upcoming election, many other states could follow, because California often sets trends for the rest of the country, Gallup said.
"As more states legalize marijuana, the question of whether the drug should be legal may become when it will be legal," Gallup said in a statement.