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A Record Amount of Americans Think Cannabis Should Be Legal

That's according to the latest Gallup poll.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Seven in 10 Americans think marijuana use should be legal, the highest level yet after holding steady at 68% for three years.

The latest results are based on a Gallup poll conducted Oct. 2-23. Aside from those in favor, 29% of U.S. adults think marijuana should not be legal, while 1% are unsure.

Twelve percent of Americans backed legalizing marijuana when Gallup first asked about it in 1969. Support cracked the 50% threshold in 2013, jumping 10 percentage points to 58% after Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

Support has since increased by another 12 points, paralleling the rise in Americans’ self-reported use of the drug. According to Gallup’s July Consumption Habits survey, the percentage saying they personally smoke marijuana has risen 10 points to 17% since 2013, and the percentage who have ever tried it has increased 12 points to 50%.

The July poll also found a slight majority of Americans expressing low concern about the effect of regular marijuana use on adults, although they were more uneasy about the effects on young adult and teen users.

Majorities of All Political Groups Still Back Legal Marijuana

For the second straight year, majority support for legalization is found among all major subgroups, including by age, political party and ideology. Self-identified conservatives were the last major subgroup to express majority support, reaching 51% in 2022. Republicans first gave marijuana majority-level backing in 2017.

As of today, support for legal marijuana use is highest among self-identified liberals (91%) and Democrats (87%) and lowest among conservatives (52%) and Republicans (55%). Support is inversely correlated with age, reaching 79% among 18- to 34-year-olds. However, even among the oldest age group, nearly two-thirds (64%) are in favor.

There are no significant differences in support by gender, race or education. While most of the regional differences seen this year are also not statistically significant, the lower support for legalization in the East than in the West and Midwest is consistent with the recent trend.

More broadly, the poll finds no difference in support for legalization between residents living in the 23 states plus the District of Columbia where recreational use was already legal at the time of the poll and those living in the other 27 states that retain more restrictive laws. Seventy percent of adults in both groups are in favor.

Bottom Line

The nation has reached a broad consensus on legalizing marijuana, with a full seven in 10 now supportive. Not only do most U.S. adults favor it, but so do majorities of all major political and ideological subgroups.

Although some health organizations and political commentators have raised concerns about the medical risks of marijuana, this hasn’t blunted the public’s desire for legalization thus far. For now, the high level of support among younger adults suggests national backing will only expand in the years ahead, likely resulting in more states, and perhaps the federal government, moving to legalize it.

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