Advocates seeking to legalize marijuana have to suffer through insults and negative stereotypes that are hurled against us by prohibitionists and even those that are simply on the fence on the issue. Fortunately, the tide is turning for the better as marijuana has moved more into the mainstream and cannabis law reform has been winning at the ballot box. Recent polls have shown that most voters in the United States favor putting an end to prohibition and yet another poll shows that a majority of Americans support legalization.
Research from YouGov shows that a majority of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. 52% of Americans now support legalization, while only 34% oppose it. This is slightly up from 48% support for legalization when the question was last asked in March 2015.
Over half of all adults under the age of 65 support it, but over-65s do tend to oppose (49%) rather than support (39%) legalization.
Politically, Democrats (66%) and independents (51%) want to legalize marijuana but half of Republicans are opposed. Just over a third of Republicans (36%) do support legalization, however.
While full legalization has the support of just over half of the country two-thirds of Americans believe that government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth. Unsurprisingly a huge majority of people in favor of legalization (86%) say that the efforts cost more than they are worth, but even opponents of legalization narrowly tend to say that current efforts aren’t worth the cost (42% to 33%).
The YouGov research continues the trend of polling showing both that a majority of Americans want to put an end to the failed and harmful War on Marijuana, but also that the support is growing as the previous YouGov poll pegged support at 48%. This recent poll also matches other surveys that have reflected the fact that majority support for prohibition has been relegated to those over 65 years among age groups and to members of the Republican party as both Democrats and independents support legalization.
Calling for an end to federal prohibition seems to have helped Bernie Sanders and her antiquated views on cannabis may just add to the list of factors that will soon doom the tenure of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The age demographics also bode well for legalization activists as the majority of those under 65 that support legalization will grow older and increase support even among the oldest voters while young voters have always been a strong base of support for reform efforts.
The YouGov poll hasn’t broken any new ground, but just demonstrates further the momentum that the cannabis community is experiencing. Even a plurality of those that oppose legalization agree that “efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than their worth”. Hopefully, with a few more electoral victories, the marijuana movement will enjoy the respect that it deserves from elected officials and policymakers.