The Pew Research Center’s newest study, released Oct. 8, 2018, showed that 62 percent of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana.
Noting that it was a small change upward (up 1% from 2017), the numbers represent double the percentage of support cannabis legalization registered in 2000, which hovered around 30 percent.
Pew found that legalization attitudes vary among generations with millennials registering fully 74 percent in favor of ending prohibition. Gen-Xers followed closely at 63 percent and 54 percent of the Baby Boomers leaned toward supporting legalization.
The poll showed that opposition continued to decline at an even greater rate than support increased, with only 34 percent of participants saying that cannabis should remain illegal as compared to 37 percent who said the same last year.
“One of the greatest benchmarks of the success of legalization is the simple fact that public support for this policy change has only grown in the years since states began enacting it,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano reported Marijuana Moment. “The public has spoken and it is time for leaders in both parties to come together and amend federal law in a manner that comports with marijuana’s rapidly changing cultural and legal status.”
Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, agreed.
“The fact that support continues to grow as states have been ending marijuana prohibition over the past few years suggests Americans are comfortable with the changes that are taking place,” he said. “They see cannabis being sold legally in regulated businesses and they recognize it is a much more preferable system. The idea of arresting and punishing adults for consuming marijuana is becoming increasingly unpopular, and elected officials are taking notice.”
The poll involved 1,750 people and was taken in late September, 2018.