Home » Practice Areas » Evolving Opinions – Recent Surveys Show that a Growing Number of Americans Support Marijuana Legalization

plant shutterstock_207279334It was not so long ago that open support for the legalization of marijuana was not very popular in the United States. It now seems as though that tide is changing, and changing quickly. Based upon a recent survey, it appears that more and more American adults continue to support the legalization of marijuana in the United States. CivicScience, an online polling data company, released the results last week of its survey of more than 450,000 adults in the United States.

Over the last 2 years CivicScience asked these individuals the following question: Would you support or oppose a law in your state that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol?

During the 2 year survey period, of the 453,653 U.S.-based adults questioned, 58% support legalization, 35% oppose it, and 7% have no strong opinion. Of those in support, 39% say they “strongly support” legalization and 19% say they “somewhat support” it. And, of those who were opposed, 29% are “strongly opposed, while 6% are only “somewhat” opposed.

CivicScience then reviewed the data from only those responding from May to August 2014, which showed a recent shift toward support for legalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana like alcohol (61%), and a decrease in the numbers in opposition (30%). Eight percent (8%), meanwhile, had no strong opinion one way or the other. The last 3 months saw an increase of those “strongly” in support of legalization under the terms of the question to 40%, and a decrease to 23% of those “strongly opposed.”

The survey found men to be slightly more in favor than women, by 60% to 55%. People between the ages of 25 and 34 were the most strongly in favor. Meanwhile, the only age group to oppose legalization, on balance, were those over the age of 65. By education, support was 3% higher amongst individuals with graduate degrees or PhDs than amongst people with a GED, high school education, or less.[1]

Based on these polling results, it would appear as though marijuana legalization has truly become a mainstream issues. And, in fact, other recent polls by Pew[2] and Gallup[3] reflect this same upswing in support for legalization and/or decriminalization of marijuana in recent months and years.

To date, 23 states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana for medical use. Two states, Washington and Colorado, legalized marijuana for recreational use by adults just last year. Colorado saw a massive surge in net new-tax revenue at the beginning of this year based on recreational marijuana sales. Voters in Oregon, Florida, Alaska and Washington D.C. will decide on new marijuana laws in elections this November.

Meanwhile, Louisiana has some of the most draconian marijuana laws in the country. Current Louisiana law calls for a six month sentence for a first time marijuana possession charge, and some multiple offenders may face life in prison.



[1] See link for CivicScience survey methodology. http://civicscience.com/

[2] http://www.people-press.org/2014/04/02/section-2-views-of-marijuana-legalization-decriminalization-concerns/

[3] http://www.gallup.com/poll/165539/first-time-americans-favoring-legalizing-marijuana.aspx

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