In a new Gallup poll, 68% of Americans supported the legalization of marijuana. It’s the highest support the initiative has received since Gallup started tracking public sentiment.
In 1969, Gallup's first poll found that only 12% of Americans supported legalization, but many were still swept by "Reefer Madness." Support began to rise in 2000, and has doubled since 2003.
This year’s poll was taken prior to the election, during which voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota legalized recreational use.
According to Gallup, legalization has the strongest support from college graduates with a household income of more than $100,000.
The initiative has overwhelming support (at least 75%) from people 49 and younger, and men (69%) support it slightly more than women (66%).
And, interestingly, nearly half (49%) of conservatives support legalization.
Despite the lower Republican support, voters in the generally conservative states of Mississippi, Montana and South Dakota approved adult use or medical initiatives by wide margins on Election Day.
According to Gallup, the trends indicate that more states are likely to legalize recreational marijuana in the future, as it's possible that a change in federal policy could happen soon.
In a statement, Aaron Smith, co-founder and CEO of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), said, “We are quickly approaching a tipping point for cannabis policy. Federal lawmakers need to listen to their constituents and support sensible comprehensive reforms now.”
Cannabis is now legal for adults in 15 states, and 36 states have comprehensive medical cannabis laws.
According to NCIA, the substance is legal in some form in 47 states.