The highly respected Pew Research Center released its annual national marijuana poll yesterday, proving the majority of Americans support legalization, including a few key swing states for the presidential election.
Nationally, 53% of Americans support full marijuana legalization — similar to the 54% reported last year. Young people continue to be legalization’s most supportive generation; 68% of people 18-34 are for legalization compared to 52% of people aged 35-50 (the next most supportive age demographic).
Political leanings still play a big role in whether or not a person supports legalization, as well. A solid 59% of Democrats support legalization, as well as 58% of independents, and though only 39% of Republicans are for legalization, that’s the highest percentage found since the poll originated in 1969. (Golf clap for the Right.)
Another point for the legalization camp is that people are much more likely to change from anti- to pro-legalization than the other way around. According to the poll, 30% said they’d always favored legalization, and 35% said they’d always opposed it. However, 21% said that they used to think marijuana should remain illegal and have changed their minds, compared to a mere 7% which said they used to support legalization and are now against it.
“The more that people learn about marijuana and look at the benefits of legalization, the more likely they are to support reform,” Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell told the Huffington Post. “Our opponents sure do have a lot to say about what they see as the benefits of continuing prohibition, but voters don’t want to hear it.”
Another fun finding of the poll is that voters in Colorado — the now infamous first state to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana — back their state’s groundbreaking decision by 62%, a figure up 8 points from one year ago, proving straight from the horse’s mouth that legalization works.
The most agreed upon aspect of legalization, regardless of age or party affiliation, is that voters do not want the federal government to interfere with individual states’ marijuana laws. This was supported by 64% of independents, 58% of Democrats, and 54% of Republicans.
As more voter awareness is raised, validated research regarding legalization’s countless benefits are toted by respected media outlets, and more public personas speak out in favor, voter opinion will continue to sway in the direction of legalization. The tide has officially turned, and real, tangible change is near — hell, it’s already here.