Poll says support for legalizing marijuana hits record high
U.S. residents’ support for legalizing marijuana continues to rise, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.
In total, 64 percent of those polled said they support legalizing marijuana, an increase of 4 percentage points from a year ago.
“This is the highest level of public support Gallup has found for the proposal in nearly a half-century of measurement,” Gallup said in a news release.
Of Republicans polled, 51 percent supported legalization, a 9-point increase compared to last year. Gallup said it was the first time that a majority of Republicans have backed marijuana legalization in its polling. About 72 percent of Democrats supported the legalization of pot.
— GallupNews (@GallupNews) October 25, 2017
The poll was conducted from Oct. 5 to Oct. 11, and reached 1,028 adults in all 50 states along with Washington D.C.
“The trajectory of Americans’ views on marijuana is similar to that of their views on same-sex marriage over the past couple of decades,” Gallup said in its data analysis. “On both issues, about a quarter supported legalization in the late 1990s, and today 64% favor each.”
Tom Angell, founder and chairman of the nonprofit Marijuana Majority advocacy group, said the poll numbers prove most Americans believe marijuana should be legalized.
“These new numbers, and the continuing trend they confirm, show that legal marijuana continues to be way more popular than almost any politician — increasingly so,” he said. “Despite threatening rhetoric from some Trump administration officials, Americans’ support for regulating marijuana like alcohol only continues to rise year over year. That bodes well for efforts to pass cannabis laws in more states in 2018 — both on the ballot and through state legislatures.”
— Ben Schmitt (@bencschmitt) October 25, 2017
Eight states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana use. Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana in 2016.
Under Pennsylvania law, patients — after consulting with doctors — can apply for a state-issued medical marijuana card if a doctor certifies that they have one of 17 qualified medical conditions, including epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis and seizure disorders. Medical marijuana will be available in pills, oils, tinctures and ointments. The state health department is regulating the program, which forbids smoking marijuana in dry leaf form.
Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.