Poll: Support for Marijuana Legalization Increases Again

A new poll from YouGov/HuffPost has found that 61 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. The poll asked, “Do you support or oppose Colorado’s new law which makes recreational marijuana use legal but applies a heavy tax on marijuana sales, limits the sale of marijuana only to people 21 years old or older, and makes it illegal to take marijuana out of state?”

Majority support for Amendment 64 crossed all demographic categories, including support in the South and Midwest top 60 percent while the Northeast and West remained in the mid-50 percent range.  Even Republicans support Colorado legalization at 52% and senior citizens aged 65 and older support it at 64 percent.

This support comes despite American majorities’ belief that marijuana legalization will lead to more youth using marijuana (53 percent). Democrats and people under 40 were the only groups to not feature a majority who believes legalization leads to greater youth use, and even those figures were pluralities (more agreed than disagreed, but they weren’t an over-50 percent majority.)

However, Americans seem to have learned more truths about legalization as well. Majorities across every demographic do not believe the “gateway theory” that marijuana will lead the user to abuse of harder drugs. Only pluralities of Republicans and seniors still buy that nonsense. All demographics agree that marijuana legalization will not increase crime rates, except for republicans who are split on the issue.

No demographic group believes the federal government should enforce federal marijuana prohibition in the states that choose to legalize. Strong majorities among all demographics but Hispanics believe that “government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth.”

Americans are split regarding marijuana and road safety. While 39 percent believe legalization will not affect road safety, 38 percent do and 23 percent don’t know. Women, over 45 age groups, Republicans, Hispanics, over $80K income, and Western regions were more likely to agree that legalization will lead to more dangerous roads compared to men, under 45 age groups, Democrats and independents, blacks and whites, under $80K income, and eastern regions.

Overall, 44 percent of the people polled had tried marijuana in their lifetime, but seven percent “preferred not to answer”.  Past use and no answer rates were highest among men (49 percent and nine percent) and the middle-aged (50-49 percent and eight percent). Majorities of women (54 percent), seniors (65 percent), Republicans (58 percent), blacks (53 percent), and Midwesterners (53 percent) have never tried marijuana.

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