By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
A majority of US adults believe that the consumption of marijuana ought to be legal, according to the results of a nationwide CBS poll released today.
Fifty-one percent of respondents answered affirmatively to the question, "Should marijuana use be legal?" The percentage is the highest ever reported by the survey, which has been tracking public opinion on the issue since 1979 (when only 27 percent of adults endorsed legalization), and marks a six point jump in support since the last time pollsters posed the question in April 2013.
Forty-four percent of respondents opposed legalizing cannabis.
Age, gender, and political affiliation influenced respondents' opinions regarding legalization. A majority of all respondents under age 65 now support legalizing cannabis. Most men (57 percent), but not women (46 percent) back legalization. Most self-identified Democrats (59 percent) and Independents (54 percent), but not Republicans (35 percent) support making marijuana legal.
When asked about their views on the therapeutic use of cannabis, 86 percent of respondents told CBS pollsters that physicians ought to be allowed to authorize marijuana use to their patients --- an increase of 24 percent since 1997, when pollsters first began asking the question.
Sixty-two percent of respondents also endorsed letting individual states rather than the federal government specify marijuana policies. That figure was up slightly (3 percent) since November 2012.
Over 1,018 adults nationwide participated in the survey, which possesses a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.