As the Department of Justice makes its first move in what could be a precursor to Jeff Sessions’ war on weed, new numbers from the bi-annual General Social Survey (GSS) show that more Americans than ever believe that cannabis should be legal.
The GSS, compiled at the University of Chicago and funded by the National Science Foundation, released its 2016 data set earlier this week. Among data about gun ownership and feelings about communists teaching in public schools, the survey found that 57% of Americans in 2016 believe “marijuana should be made legal.”
That number jumped 5% from the 52% support cannabis legalization had in the 2014 GSS. Looking at the same survey’s data from 1990, when only 16% of Americans supported legalization, it’s easy to see just how recently the country’s attitude towards cannabis has changed.
When you break the numbers down by age range, it becomes even more obvious that as millennials collect more social capital, legalization will become increasingly imminent. The only age range with a majority opposing legalization is the 65 and older one. Conversely, over 65% of the millennial cohort, or 18-34 year olds, support legalization.
The numbers split similarly along political lines, with self-identified republicans only responding favorably 40% of the time, while over 60% of democrats and independents support legalization.
Across other demographics like race, sex and marital status, though, the numbers stayed largely the same, with steady support from 50-60% of the diverse groupings.
So while the last portion of Americans who still support marijuana prohibition happen to be the people who are currently in control of the country, the new GSS data certainly points towards a hopeful future in the fight for cannabis legalization.