U.S.: Majority of Americans Still Support Marijuana Legalization, According to New Gallup Poll
Poll Conducted Weeks Before Oregon, Alaska and D.C. Voters Decide to Legalize Marijuana
A new Gallup poll has found that a majority of Americans still support the legalization of marijuana. The Gallup poll found a slim majority of Americans -- 51 percent -- favor legalizing the use of marijuana - similar to the 50 percent who supported it in 2011 and 2012, but down from a reading of 58 percent last year.
The poll was conducted in mid-October but released just days after voters in Alaska, Oregon and D.C. voted to legalize marijuana. In Alaska, 52 percent voted in support, in Oregon it was nearly 56 percent and in D.C., the number was a whopping 69 percent.
Building off of the successes of 2014, advocates for marijuana legalization will be putting legalization on multiple ballots in 2016, including California.
“The 58 percent support for legalization that Gallup reported last year was always something of an outlier; it was the highest among virtually all of the national polls on marijuana legalization," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "And it can be explained in part by the timing – late 2013, when Washington and Colorado’s successful ballot initiatives made the prospect of legally regulating marijuana real to many Americans; and just months after the Obama administration had given its qualified green light to those states to proceed with implementation; and before media began to focus on the actual challenges of transforming a previously illegal, unregulated market into a legal, regulated one.
“Notably, Gallup’s poll was conducted in mid-October, when polling in Oregon and Alaska suggested that the marijuana legalization ballot initiatives were a toss-up," Nadelmann said. "Yet both won – and in the case of Oregon, by a stunning 56:44 margin. If Gallup’s poll had been conducted this week, or next, it almost surely would have found stronger support for legalizing marijuana than it did last month.
“So I see the latest Gallup poll more as validation than anything else – and consistent with the large majority of polls over the past two years that show more Americans in favor of legalizing marijuana than against it," Nadelmann said. “What’s most important, of course, is that in the most meaningful poll of voters – the ballot box – the results speak for themselves.”