Drug Laws

 Gallup Poll Shows Usual Holdouts as

Support for Legal Weed Hits 

Record High in U.S. of 68%

Support Higher Among College Grads, Wealthier Households

By Steve Rensberry
RP News

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - (RP News) - 12/15/2020 - The writing may be on the wall for the eventual legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana nationwide. Given the election results of last month, the country now has 15 states, plus Washington D.C., where marijuana can be purchased legally for both medicinal and recreational purposes, albeit with restrictions.

Graphic courtesy of statista
   Three dozen states now have laws allowing for medicinal use, and the number supporting recreational use has been inching upward with each election.

"The new developments cement the American West as a stronghold of legal weed. Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize the drug in 2012. South Dakota actual gave recreational and medical use of cannabis the green light at the same time, meaning there are now 36 states and the nation's capital with medical marijuana laws in place," notes statista data journalist Niall McCarthy.

Increased access to the herb follows growing public support for legal marijuana. According the Gallup organization, support passed the two-thirds mark a little while ago.

"Americans are more likely now than at any point in the past five decades to support the legalization of marijuana in the U.S.," Megan Brenan writes in a Nov. 9, 2020 story for Gallup. "The 68% of U.S. Adults who currently back the measure is not statistically different from last year's 66%; however, it is nominally Gallup's highest reading, exceeding the 64% to 66% range seen from 2017 to 2019."

In 1969 just 12 percent of Americans backed legalization, a Gallup poll taken at the time indicated. It reached 28 percent in 1977, then 30 percent in 2000. See: Support for Legal Marijuana Inches Up to New High of 68%.

"The latest data are from a Sept. 30-Oct. 15 poll, conducted before the election that saw marijuana legalization proposals on the ballot in several states. Voters in all of these states -- Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota -- authorized the legal use of recreational marijuana in the Nov. 3 election. They join 11 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing pot for recreational purposes. Additionally, voters in Mississippi and South Dakota join 33 states and the District of Columbia in passing laws legalizing or decriminalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes," Brenan writes.

Interestingly, support was greater among college grads than non-college grads, according to the Gallup poll, at 76 percent and 64 percent respectively. Support among 18-29 years old was highest at 79 percent, followed by 30-49 year olds at 75 percent, 50-64 year olds at 60 percent, and those over 65 years of age at 55 percent.

Support in households making more than $100,000 per year was highest at 74 percent; for those making $40,000-$100,000 per year it was 68 percent, and for those making less than $40,000 per year it was 67 percent.

Approximately 69 percent of males and 66 percent of females supported legalization.

Brenan notes that Republicans, conservatives, and weekly churchgoers remain the holdouts. "Over eight in 10 Democrats and liberals, and more than seven in 10 independents and moderates, back legalization, but just under half of Republicans and conservatives do," she writes.


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