Pew Poll Finds Majority Support for Marijuana Legalizationby Phillip Smith
Apr. 05, 2013
For the first time since the Pew Research Center started polling on the question 40 years ago, it has found that a majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana. In a Pew poll released Thursday, 52% supported legalization, with only 45% opposed.
The Pew results are in line with other recent polls on the topic. Five polls released in December showed marijuana legalization hovering on the cusp of majority support. Those polls had support at 47%, 48%, 50%, 54%, and 57%, respectively.
The Pew poll found majority support for marijuana legalization among Democrats, independents, and liberal and moderate Republicans. There was also majority support among all age groups except those before the Baby Boom generation.
The gender gap continues to be evident. Some 57% of men supported legalization, but only 48% of women.
The poll also found considerable skepticism about enforcing the marijuana laws, with 72% agreeing that "government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth" and 60% saying that the federal government should not try to enforce marijuana laws in states where it is legal.
Drug reformers liked the poll results.
"I've always tended to be cautious in claiming that we've hit the 'tipping point' on marijuana legalization," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "But we're there now. And I'd say we're trailing marriage equality by just a half-step, even if far fewer elected officials are willing to join publicly with us as yet."
The Pew poll has lots and lots of informative detail. It's worth clicking on the link above to check it out.