I have seen numerous polls that show majority support for marijuana legalization. However, the sample size of those polls is usually in the thousands. While I think the polls are are accurate reflection of the overall opinion of Americans, I've always wanted to see a poll that looks at a large sample of poll participants. A poll fitting that description was released yesterday. Per Civic Science:
We analyzed a sample of 453,653 U.S. adults over the past two years who answered the following question: "Would you support or oppose a law in your state that would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana like alcohol?" 58% of respondents support legalization; 35% oppose it; 7% have no strong opinion. Looking only at data over the past three months, support bumps up to 61%, while 30% oppose, and 8% have no strong opinion.
Weed legalization supporters clearly outnumber weed legalization opponents in the U.S. today, and ours aren't the only data that say so. The Pew Foundation published similar numbers in April 2014 - though with a slightly lower (54%) level of support, which could be attributed to margin of error, different question wording, changes over time, or some combination. But I digress.
The scales haven't tipped because the population of stereotypical stoners somehow exploded in the last decade. We now live in a world (or at least a country) where smoking herb (or at least condoning it) is no longer the exclusive realm of outliers and rebels. Weed has gone mainstream. Weed is trending.
This poll is huge, and timely considering that Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C. are voting on marijuana legalization this election. Countless more states will be voting on marijuana legalization in 2016, and there's a good chance that one or more state legislatures could legalize marijuana in between the two elections. Marijuana legalization will no doubt be a hot topic in the 2016 Presidential race as well. Per Tom Angell from the Marijuana Majority:
"This huge poll is yet another indication that marijuana legalization is officially a mainstream issue. With ending prohibition polling better with voters than most elected officials do these days, it'll be really interesting to see which 2016 contenders realize that supporting marijuana reform is good politics and which still don't get it."