A recent Gallup poll shows support for legal cannabis at all-time highs. While this is certainly news worth celebrating, we need to examine some key factors first. What caused the increase in support? And what exactly is this huge number that’s got us so excited?
From October 5 to October 11, Americans participated in Gallup poll about cannabis. Specifically, the Gallup poll asked for their opinions on cannabis legalization.
While we’ve been optimistic about the changing views and evolving social and political standards of our fellow Americans, nothing could prepare us for this result.
The Gallup poll revealed that a record-breaking 64 percent of American adults support the legalization of cannabis.
To put this number into context, let’s look at some previous Gallup polls about cannabis legalization.
The analytics company first asked American adults about their opinion on the subject way back in 1969. That year, 12 percent of Americans said that they supported the legalization of marijuana. According to Gallup, that number increased dramatically by the end of the 1970s—more than twice as many people reported being in favor legalization.
Interestingly, the percentage plateaued during the ’80s and ’90s before increasing again in 2001, when one-third of American nationals voiced their support. The number has been steadily increasing since then.
In fact, since 2013, more Americans supported legalization than those who did not.
When it comes to cannabis legalization, it seems that everyone has an opinion. And, let’s be honest, there has historically been a substantial split between the political parties.
This divide applies to a multitude of matters, especially in our current political climate. The issue of weed legalization is no different.
2009 marked the year that the majority of self-identified registered Democrats supported cannabis legalization. In 2010, Independent voters followed suit. This is the first year, ever, that the majority of Republican party members have supported legalization.
Fifty-one percent of Republicans support the legalization of cannabis. Last year, the number was only 42 percent.
Final Hit: Support For Legal Cannabis At All-Time Highs
While it’s easy to just congratulate ourselves and our compatriots on our expanding minds and evolving opinions about a plant, we need to analyze these numbers. We especially need to analyze them in context.
Why are we seeing support for legal cannabis at all-time highs?
The answer might be that Americans are paying attention to the latest data and research. The current research about cannabis suggests that consuming it is not harmful and actually has health benefits. Given this and the fact that 64 percent of Americans now support cannabis legalization, we might surmise that 64 percent of Americans are forming their opinions based on scientific evidence. At least in this case.
There’s also the fact that Americans have been steadily becoming more liberal in social issues. Gallup has even compared the upward trajectory of support for cannabis legalization to that of same-sex marriage.
We also need to talk about a certain high-ranking member of our current administration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has openly displayed militantly anti-cannabis views. And now he’s officially in the minority on that front within his own party. While the margin is still small, if more Republicans start to voice their support for legalization, Sessions could find himself at odds with his constituents.