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Support for full cannabis legalization in the U.S. is growing every year, and even conservative media outlets like Fox News are reporting that a significant majority of Americans support cannabis reform. This week, the latest Fox News poll reported that 59% of respondents supported legalization, while only 32% said they opposed legalization. This number was up from an even 50% in 2014, and significantly up from a 46% minority back in 2013.
Under the joint direction of Democratic and Republican research firms, pollsters conducted phone interviews with just over 1,000 registered voters across the country at the end of last month. Broken down by demographics, the poll found that 68% of Democrats and 67% of independents supported legalization, compared to 46% of Republicans. Younger voters were more likely to support legalization, with 72% of millennials voicing their support, versus 60% of Gen X-ers and 52% of baby boomers. The main opponents of legalization are still conservative voters and white evangelical Christians, but even opposition among these groups has fallen by around 15% over the past five years.
“This is a massive shift in opinion over a very short period. As more states legalize marijuana without the negative consequences opponents have warned about, support will likely continue to increase,” said Chris Anderson, one of the directors of the poll, to Fox News. “When you look at the growing percentage of people who say they support legalizing marijuana, especially among those under 30 years of age, it’s obvious why the Democrats are anxious to get pot initiatives on the ballot in statewide elections.”
The results of the Fox News poll closely match the results of the Pew Research Center's most recent survey on cannabis legalization. Conducted last October, Pew found that 61% of Americans supported legal weed, closely aligning with the level of support indicated in Fox’s poll. Even by demographic, the results remained quite similar, with Pew reporting legalization support from 70% of millennials, 66% of Gen Xers, and 43% of Republicans. A Gallup poll from last October also found similar results, with 64% of respondents backing legal cannabis.
The close results of these polls from politically diverse sources confirm that the majority of Americans want to see decades-old cannabis prohibition laws come to an end. Now that Fox News has affirmed this reality, one can hope that the Trump administration will be forced to recognize that their attempts to revive the war on cannabis are opposed by a clear majority of the American people.