The poll shows 58 percent now support legalizing recreational marijuana — an unprecedented jump of 10 points from just last year.
A few states have moved in recent years to legalize recreational marijuana, with voters in Colorado and Washington state legalizing pot via ballot referenda last year.
The Obama administration announced recently that it will not challenge those laws, even as the possession and sale of marijuana remain illegal under federal law.
The issue is likely to be on the ballot in several other states in 2014, including potentially in Alaska, Arizona, California, Oregon, Maine, Montana and Vermont.
Many other states have legalized medicinal marijuana but not recreational.
Pro-marijuana legalization groups hailed the poll as proof that public sentiment is shifting.
“The latest poll results point to the absurdity and even venality of persisting with harsh prohibitionist policies,” said Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance.
From Business Insider
A poll released today by the Gallup organization finds 58% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana. It’s the first time a clear majority has favored legalization since Gallup started asking the question in 1969.
The finding is remarkable because, these days, it’s hard to find much of anything that 58% of Americans like.
I went back and looked through some other Gallup polls this year to find questions where more than 58% of the public took the affirmative position. Legal marijuana isn’t as popular as universal gun background checks (83%) or legal sodomy (64%). But it’s more popular than almost everything else.
More Americans want to legalize marijuana than think President Obama is doing a good job (44%), want to keep or expand Obamacare (38%), favored attacking Syria (36%), support a 20-cent gas tax increase to pay for infrastructure (29%), or like the Republican Party (28%).
And legal marijuana has more than five times as many supporters as Congress does (11%).
From Mother Jones
Today, for the first time ever, Gallup reports that a solid majority of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana. I’ve drawn my own chart of Gallup’s data because I think their chart doesn’t really give a good sense of just how quickly public opinion on this is changing.
I have a rule of thumb that favorability ratings need to reach about 65 percent before you hit a tipping point where a major social change starts getting codified into law nationwide. There’s nothing magic about this threshold. It’s just a general sense based on previous issues similar to this. And as you can see, public opinion isn’t merely rising on marijuana legalization, it’s accelerating. The rate of increase has gone from about 0.5 points per year in the 90s to 1.5 points in the aughts to 4 points so far in the teens. If this keeps up, we’ll pass the 65 percent threshold by 2016 or so.
There’s a lot of noise in polls like this, and we might see a bit of regression to the mean in the next few years. And Mark Kleiman offers a few other cautionary notes here. So 2016 is hardly a sure thing. But 2020? That seems like a pretty safe bet in most of the country. By coincidence, this was my horseback guess when I wrote about marijuana back in 2009, and it looks like I don’t have any good reason to change my mind on that.