Support for cannabis legalization in the United States has hit a new high, according to a new national survey conducted by The Hill and HarrisX.
Last week, 1,882 registered voters were presented with three different cannabis reform policies and asked to choose which option best represented their personal views on the matter. Respondents were asked if they thought the federal government should legalize cannabis, if individual states should be free to legalize, or whether cannabis should remain illegal throughout the entire country.
Three-quarters of voters said that they wanted to see cannabis prohibition come to an end, but were divided as to whether the feds or the states should take the lead on legalization. Support for federal legalization had a very slight lead, with 38 percent support, compared to 37 percent who thought individual states should enact their own adult-use laws. Only 25 percent of all respondents said they wanted the war on weed to continue.
As recently as 2019, national polls reported that around two-thirds of all Americans were ready to put pot prohibition to an end. By last fall, a national Gallup poll found that support for legalization climbed to 70 percent, and the current poll suggests that support has grown even higher over the last six months.
Most other polls on weed reform have found that younger, more liberal voters are more likely to favor legalization, and the current poll found similar results. Only 13 percent of voters aged 18 to 34 said weed should remain illegal, compared to 32 percent of voters aged 50 or older. Eighty-four percent of Democrats said they were down with legalization, compared with 74 percent of independents and 66 percent of Republicans.
Support for cannabis reform also varied by gender and geographic region. Women were more likely (28 percent) to oppose legalization than men (22 percent), and were also less likely (33 percent) to support federal legalization than men (43 percent). The poll also reports that 78 percent of voters living in the Northeast or on the West Coast were in favor of legalization, versus 75 percent in the South and 72 percent in the Midwest.
But although individual percentages do vary a bit, the poll found majority support for cannabis legalization in every single demographic. The strongest opposition against weed reform came from people who voted for Donald Trump last year (go figure), but even so, only 36 percent of these voters said they thought marijuana should remain illegal.
The strong majority support for legalization finally seems to be starting a fire under elected officials. New York just legalized weed this week, and New Mexico and Virginia are poised to do the same. And after decades of blocking every attempt at pot reform, the US Senate leadership is moving forward with a new bill to end the federal prohibition of cannabis once and for all.