Americans Now Support Pot Legalization More Than Free Healthcare or $15 Wages
Out of 20 important policy issues, ranging from free health care to taxing the wealthy, cannabis legalization was the fifth-most popular topic in a new national poll.
Published on July 24, 2019

American adults are more inclined to support cannabis legalization than they are to support free college tuition, banning assault rifles, or a free nationwide health plan, according to the results of a new national poll.

In the most recent NPR/PBS NewsHour Marist Poll, interviewers asked 1,346 adults across the US to give their opinions on 20 different hot-topic policy proposals, ranging from free health insurance to universal basic income. The results of this poll found that legal weed was one of the top five most popular proposals, with 63 percent of respondents agreeing that legalization is a “good idea.”

The fifth-place position was actually a tie, with 63 percent of respondents also supporting a Green New Deal that would “address climate change by investing government money in green jobs and energy-efficient infrastructure.” A similar percentage of respondents said they were in favor of creating a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants (64 percent) and creating a Wealth Tax for anyone making over a million dollars annually (62 percent).

Cannabis legalization ranked higher than many other popular issues, including a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles, free public college tuition, or a tax on carbon-based fuel emissions. The only issues that proved significantly more popular than legal pot were mandatory background checks for firearm purchases (89 percent), providing free Medicare to any American who wants it (70 percent), and government regulation of prescription drug prices (67 percent).

Broken down by demographic, the poll found that support for legalization was strongest among men and those with more liberal political ideologies. Around 74 percent of Democrats supported legalization, compared to 41 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of Independents. Out of all Democratic respondents, 83 percent of men were in favor of legalizing, versus 69 percent of women.

Categorized by race, 60 percent of white respondents said yes to pot, compared to 69 percent of non-white respondents. Age also remained a factor, with 78 percent of those under 45 in favor of legalization, compared to 54 percent of adults over 45. Broken down further by generation, the poll revealed that support increases steadily as age decreases — 81 percent of Millennials approved of weed, versus 37 percent of Silent Generation respondents.

The interviewers also asked respondents whether or not they voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Only 41 percent of these Trump supporters were in favor of legalization, with 54 percent opposed. The outpouring of support for legal weed strongly suggests that voters will be casting their ballots for a pot-friendly presidential candidate next year, which explains why almost every Democratic presidential hopeful is including cannabis reform in their agenda.

Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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