Overall support for marijuana legalization among adults in the United States has been steadily growing since the early 1990s. But this year support for legalization reached a new milestone as a majority of Republicans say they now support an end to federal marijuana prohibition.
That’s according to numbers out this week from Gallup, which has tracked attitudes about marijuana policy for a half century.
Overall, 64 percent of Americans say “the use of marijuana should be made legal in the United States.” When Gallup first asked Americans about legalization back in 1969, only 12 percent of Americans were in support.
Democratic and independent voters have reported majority support for marijuana legalization each year for most of the past decade. Today, 72 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of independents support legalization, Gallup reports.
Republicans expressed majority support for marijuana legalization for the first time this year. It’s a slim majority, too– just 51 percent of Republicans say the drug should be legal at the federal level. But that shouldn’t be a huge bummer for conservative reform advocates considering what a massive change just five years has made in GOP feelings about the drug. Back in 2012, just 33 percent of GOP voters said the government ought to end marijuana prohibition.
According to NORML, the nation’s leading marijuana law reform organization, the numbers suggest its time for Congress to act on some of the multiple pieces of pending legislation that would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.
“At a time when the majority of states now are regulating marijuana use in some form, and when nearly two-thirds of voters endorse legalizing the plant’s use by adults, it makes no sense from a political, fiscal, or moral perspective to maintain the federal prohibition of marijuana,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said. “It is high time that members of Congress take action to comport federal law with majority public opinion and to end the needless criminalization of marijuana — a policy failure that encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts communities of color.”