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Seven In Ten Americans Support Legalizing Cannabis

A recent survey indicates that more Americans support the legalization of marijuana than ever before.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, seven out of ten Americans firmly support legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults 21 years and older. On the heels of last week’s election that saw two more states (Maryland and Missouri) legalize adult-use cannabis, the new survey demonstrates that support for ending prohibition continues to remain strong, with 68% of those polled agreeing that marijuana should be legal.


The poll, involving interviews with 1,009 participants from October 3-20 (with a +/-4% margin of error), was almost identical to the one conducted in 2020, with the only difference being a one percent drop in opposition to legalization this go around. However, one of the more notable changes from this survey to the last is the growing bipartisan support for cannabis reform in the country.



According to the results, 84% of Democrats, 73% of Independents and 51% of Republicans all favor ending the federal ban on marijuana. Moreover, the poll also indicates the issue enjoys majority support from Americans of all ages as well: 18yrs-29yrs (77%), 30yrs-49yrs (73%), 50yrs-64yrs (67%) and 65yrs+ (58%).


Justin Strekal, founder of the BOWL PAC, in an interview with Marijuana Moment, shares, “Marijuana is overwhelmingly popular amongst voters under 45, and the older prohibitionists are dying daily. It is becoming clearer every year that Republican politicians will be forced to reverse their prohibitionist ways or face even more defeats at the ballot box in the future.”


"Marijuana is overwhelmingly popular amongst voters under 45, and the older prohibitionists are dying daily. It is becoming clearer every year that Republican politicians will be forced to reverse their prohibitionist ways or face even more defeats at the ballot box in the future.”

- Justin Strekal, Founder of the BOWL PAC


As the graphic above shows, Gallup began asking Americans about the legalization of marijuana in 1969. That year only 12% of those surveyed opposed the ban. Since then, the number of respondents supporting cannabis reform has steadily increased, with a significant rise beginning around the time states started individually legalizing the plant.


Another telling statistic revealed in this year’s analysis was that the educational level and geographic location of those interviewed did “not have a meaningful (impact on) marijuana attitudes.”


Not surprisingly, the poll also found that those with a religious affiliation were more likely to oppose legalization. However, even among the most ardent churchgoers, 46% still indicated they favor legalizing marijuana.


Overall, the results of the survey demonstrated that:


“A statistical analysis that takes into account the influence of multiple respondent characteristics simultaneously confirms that ideology, religiosity, age and party identification are the most important predictors of marijuana attitudes. The model indicates that ideology is slightly more influential than the other variables.”


"A statistical analysis that takes into account the influence of multiple respondent characteristics simultaneously confirms that ideology, religiosity, age and party identification are the most important predictors of marijuana attitudes. The model indicates that ideology is slightly more influential than the other variables.”

- Gallup Poll Survey Analysis


Furthermore, while the percentage of those in support of ending the ban has only marginally increased since 2020, the demographic trends seem to indicate an eventual growth in the share of the population backing cannabis legalization in the future.


As the firm shares, “Small segments of the population (in particular, older conservatives) are still disinclined to think marijuana use should be legal. However, younger conservatives and younger moderates are more inclined than their older counterparts to think cannabis should be legal. As such, in future decades, support for legalizing marijuana can be expected to continue to grow as newer, likely more pro-marijuana, generations replace older generations in the U.S. population.”


"Small segments of the population (in particular, older conservatives) are still disinclined to think marijuana use should be legal. However, younger conservatives and younger moderates are more inclined than their older counterparts to think cannabis should be legal. As such, in future decades, support for legalizing marijuana can be expected to continue to grow as newer, likely more pro-marijuana, generations replace older generations in the U.S. population.”

- Gallup Poll Survey Analysis


As we near the end of 2022, almost half of the union now has legal adult-use cannabis, with an additional 80% of states running their own medical marijuana programs. Lawmakers in Washington have vowed to vote on and pass “significant” cannabis reform during this lame-duck session leading up to the next Congressional session in 2023 as well. What a dramatic and momentous shift since the days of 12% support during the time of “flower children” and Woodstock. The times they are indeed “a changing.”


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