A Gallup poll conducted last month confirms what a lot of us have already guessed – support for legalizing cannabis is at an all-time…well…high. The organization has been tracking Americans’ opinions on legalization since 1969 when only 12% supported the idea. By 2001, that had risen to about a third, which still meant the vast majority of Americans opposed an end to prohibition. By 2013, over half of those surveyed supported legalization. Last month, 64% said cannabis use should be made legal.
The increase in acceptance can possibly be attributed to the fact that one in five Americans now live in states that have legalized, and the sky hasn’t fallen on them as a result.
The most striking result from the survey is that for the first time ever, a slim majority of Republicans (51%) support legalization. That number is up from 42% just a year ago. In 2009, Democrats became the first partisan group to support legalization by a majority, followed by independents the next year. Currently, 72% of Democrats support an end to cannabis prohibition.
Regarding the poll, Justin Strekal, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said it shows that “it makes no sense from a political, fiscal, or moral perspective to maintain federal prohibition of marijuana. It is high time that member of Congress take action to comport federal law with majority public opinion and to end the needless criminalization of marijuana – a policy failure that encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts communities of color.”
Given the fact that almost two thirds of Americans support legalization, it seems inevitable that changes in the federal law are coming – and fast.