According to a newly released Gallup Poll, 60% of those 18 and older in the U.S. believe that cannabis should be legal. This is the highest percentage of support Gallup has found for legalization since they started polling the question 47 years ago.
When Gallup first asked this question in 1969, 12% of Americans supported the legalization of cannabis. In the late 1970s, support rose to 28% but began to retreat in the 1980s during the era of the “Just Say No” to drugs campaign. Support stayed in the 25% range through 1995, but increased to 31% in 2000 and has continued climbing since then.
In 2013, support for legalization reached a majority for the first time after Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Since then, a majority of Americans have continued to say they think the use of cannabis should be made legal.
According to Gallup, support for legalizing cannabis use has increased among most subgroups in the past decade, but more so among certain groups than others. For example, support is up 33% to 77% among adults aged 18 to 34, while it is up 16 points among adults aged 55 and older to 45%
Additionally, Gallup states, support is up more among independents and Democrats than it is among Republicans, partly because of the older age skew of the last group. Seventy percent of independents and 67% of Democrats support legal cannabis use, a major increase since the combined survey of 2003 and 2005 when 46% of independents and 38% of Democrats supported the idea.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 5-9, 2016, with a random sample of 1,017 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.