More Than 60% of Americans Are in Favor of Legalizing Cannabis, New Survey Says
A Pew poll from October found that outside of elderly Republicans, the significant majority of Americans across every district and demographic are ready to end cannabis prohibition once and for all.
Published on January 8, 2018

A new survey from Pew Research Center suggests that recent legal weed support from Capitol Hill is long overdue, with over 60 percent of American adults in favor of ending cannabis prohibition altogether. The data comes at a time when American politicians on both sides of the aisle continue to react to Jeff Sessions' attempted cannabis interference and lawmakers at both the federal and state level implicitly demonstrate that opposing the Trump administration must also include active cannabis reform.

The Pew survey, conducted in October 2017, before Sessions revoked the Obama-era Cole memo — the federal policy of noninterference regarding states with recreational cannabis legalization — found that 61% of Americans said they believe the use of cannabis should be legal. This is a four percent increase from the Washington, D.C.-based research center's last set of statistics, released late last year, before Donald Trump took over the Oval Office.

Breaking the latest survey down by demographics and political affiliation, it quickly becomes clear that only a few small population groups are standing in the way of near-total support for the still-controversial plant.

While 70% of millennials and 66% of Gen Xers and nearly 70% percent of all Democrats say they support regulating reefer, only 35% of the Silent Generation (71 years and older) and 43% of all Republicans want to see legal weed.

Even within the GOP ranks though, the tides are slowly turning. Republicans under 40 years-old said they supported cannabis legalization by a margin of 62% to 38%, suggesting that Sessions' Silent Generation might be the last holdouts in America's dastardly War on Drugs.

In fact, compared with other recent polls, the Pew survey found less Republican support for legal weed than others. In the most recent legalization survey from Gallup, another leading American research firm, released just three months ago, the organization found that 51% of Republican respondents supported legalization.

The two surveys were conducted in October 2017, within two weeks of each other. Researchers at Pew contacted 1,504 adults, 18 years and older, across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., while Gallup contacted 1,028 Americans across those same locations and age ranges. Both reports show the highest percentage of cannabis support since both Pew and Gallup began asking Americans about legalization in 1969.

Support for cannabis reform is already higher than most of America's aging politicians care to acknowledge. If the trends from the latest Pew and Gallup surveys continue, the near future could see such overwhelming support for legal weed that America's aging political representatives will need to change their tone on cannabis reform or face uphill battles at the ballot box.

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Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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